One-on-one: Charlotte mayor speaks on efforts to end violent crime
Violent crime in the city of Charlotte is up by two percent, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mayor Vi Lyles sat down with WBTV’s Brandon Hamilton to discuss violent crime and homicides, and affordable housing.
Violent Crime and Homicide
“This one of the most difficult issues that we’re experiencing now, this idea around violence,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles says.
According to Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, violent crime in the city of Charlotte is up by two percent.
“The ages of the victims and suspects are getting younger,” Lyles addressed this growing concern on Tuesday.
Brandon: What would you tell that teen who thinks violence is the answer?
Mayor: I say violence, makes you angrier. Violence is a way of expressing something that’s very negative. And you don’t have to be that.
When it comes to gun violence, 118 juveniles have been suspects of firearm‐related offenses, according to CMPD. There have been 482 juvenile victims.
Last month, this 9-year-old pleading for everyone to put the guns down after his 14-year-old brother was murdered in Charlotte caught the attention of city leaders.
Mayor: It’s more distressing than anyone can imagine. Watching you on the news and describing these events. It just devastates me, but at the same time, what can we do about it? We’re investing in our community. We know that a lot of this is about the violence that comes from a relationship issue. So how do we impact this relationship? How do we make sure that we have people that don’t know how to deal with conflict, learn to deal with conflict?
One of the mayor’s solutions is the Alternatives to Violence Program. It’s currently in the Beatties Ford corridor but expanding into two more areas.
Mayor: Violence interrupters are on the streets, helping to stop issues before they turn into a crime.
Lyles removes the perception that elected officials are not doing enough.
Mayor: We do care deeply. That’s why our streets need to be cleaner. That’s why our neighborhoods need to be safer. And we’re putting our efforts into the city council members have town halls where they meet with people.”
She says the city is also working to erase issues that may lead to crime.
Mayor: Look at our history, the disparity in terms of race, the poverty in terms of race, all of the deep-rooted issues in this country and not just in our city, but I believe our city is working hard to make a difference here.
Brandon: When this is all said and done, what do you hope your legacy is?
Mayor: I hope that my legacy is that I created a city that the next generation chooses to live, work, and invest in.
The mayor mentioned the Unified Development Ordinance that was adopted last month by the city council. It would allow developers to build duplexes or larger developments in areas currently zoned for single-family housing. The proponent of that has been affordable housing.
She says this fall there will be a summit, tying housing, jobs, and transportation together.
Brandon: What do you say to someone who says, ‘I can’t afford to live in Charlotte?’
Mayor: I say I completely understand it. You can’t be immune to the idea of how prices are increasing. But this is a national issue. It’s going on across our state, across our country. I think at some point the market will adjust. At some point, we have to figure out how the market adjusts, whether or not it’s actually more investment by the government or more investment by the private sector.
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