CMPD: Gun crime on the rise so far in 2022, homicides down
“We are seeing more senseless shootings, especially those into occupied properties like homes and cars.”
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – While overall crime rates have stayed relatively flat so far in 2022, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said property crime is up 1% and violent crime incidents are up 2%.
During a news conference Wednesday to discuss crime statistics and trends for the first quarter of the year, CMPD officials said homicides are down 5%, rapes are down 23%, and robberies are down 5%.
However, aggravated assaults are up 5% and burglaries are up 7%.
Gun crime is also on the rise.
“We are seeing more senseless shootings, especially those into occupied properties like homes and cars,” a CMPD tweet attributed to Maj. Brian Foley said. “We’ve seen these shootings have tragic consequences.”
Foley said the majority of the guns come from legal owners. Criminals are breaking into cars, and those guns are ending up on the street.
“Why would someone leave a firearm in an unlocked car is beyond me,” said Foley.
CMPD is reminding gun owners to be responsible, so guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.
“The car break-ins are by far the most frequent way we see firearms out into the criminal element and distributed out onto the street. That’s very frustrating.”
In an effort to get weapons and criminals off the streets, the CMPD said its Crime Gun Suppression Team has made 58 arrests, seized 52 firearms and executed seven search warrants so far this year.
Foley said the No. 1 thing people can do to help reduce gun violence is to take care of their firearms and lock them up - something gun shop owner Larry Hyatt wishes more owners would do.
“It’s a terrible problem. Cars are not secure, people are carrying guns for self-protection. They can’t take them into their workplace, they can’t take them to the bank, they leave them in the car, and the crooks know it,” said Hyatt.
He says the solution is getting a gun vault, which is a popular item at his store.
“What we recommend is some of the boxes like we have over here on the counter, where you actually lock your gun up. The criminal can’t get to it,” Hyatt said.
Foley noted that not taking precautions could have deadly consequences.
“You got to understand, if you don’t take care of that firearm, it can kill somebody else. It can kill a child, and we’ve seen that multiple times this year,” he said.
CMPD officials said they’re also seeing an increase in vehicle thefts, with 733 registered for the first quarter of 2022. That’s up 11% from 2021.
To help keep them from becoming a victim of vehicle theft, authorities are reminding residents to:
- Always lock your car and take your keys with you
- Make sure your windows are closed when you park
- Park in well-lit areas if possible
- Never leave valuables in your vehicle. That’s especially important for any firearms
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