CMPD sees spike in violent crime during coronavirus pandemic

CMPD: Violent crime increased within last month

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg Police say they have seen an increase in violent crime over the last month and a half despite the coronavirus pandemic keeping people indoors.

CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney says the number of homicides in Charlotte are lower than this time last year, but the number of shootings is up.

“Under the cloud of a pandemic, crime is not taking a day off. Especially violent crime,” Kerr Putney said.

According to the CMPD, there were 47 homicides in Charlotte at this time last year. Right now, Charlotte has experienced 37 homicides. More than 10 people were shot over the holiday weekend.

Last month there were 60 shootings in occupied dwellings. Last week, there were 9 shootings in occupied dwellings. Of those 9 shootings in occupied dwellings, CMPD says 50 people were victimized. And of those 50 victims, 17 of them were under the age of 13.

“This is what’s going on in this city. Although we’re dealing with a pandemic that we can’t control. We also need to get a handle on this issue that we can,” Chief Putney said.

Putney touched on a case that happened more than a week ago in east Charlotte that is still weighing heavily on him.

Chief Putney says 18-year-old Clifton Stanfill shot and killed 15-year-old Roman Kichigin on Briarhill Drive when Kichigin met Stanfill to sell him an old cellphone. Putney says Stanfill instead robbed Kichigin. Stanfill is a repeat offender.

“I can’t even imagine burying a 15-year-old kid. Even more tragic, his mother is in the car with him,” Putney said. “This is about repeat, violent offenders who are shattering lives.”

Putney says he and District Attorney Spencer Merriweather have agreed to hold themselves accountable in their quest to slow crime in Charlotte by issuing an accountability report card in the future.

“He and I agree, low level first offenders we’re going to give you a second chance. Young people make mistakes. But those who continue to pray on this city are going to be held accountable.”

As of now, there are 582 defendants who are wearing electronic monitors. Prior to the pandemic, CMPD says there was anywhere from 425-450 defendants on electronic monitors. The city is capable of monitoring 600 defendants under the program.

“He and I agree, low level first offenders we’re going to give you a second chance. Young people make mistakes. But those who continue to pray on this city are going to be held accountable,” Deputy Chief Gerald Smith said.

Of the 582 defendants on electronic monitors, 144 defendants are accused of robbery and 25 defendants are accused of homicide. CMPD says 34 defendants have cut off or forcefully removed their electronic monitors.

The CMPD credited several of its initiatives and tools for arrests made in cases. For example, since the department launched its Shootings into Occupied Dwellings Task force in August 2019, the department says 112 arrests have been made. The task force has seized 64 guns, 24 of which were stolen. It has also executed 21 search warrants.

CMPD leaders say since it joined the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network, the network has generated 1100 investigative leads.

CMPD’S Crime Stoppers program has generated 1,082 tips this year. The tips received by Crime Stoppers has led police to make 79 arrests.

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