Homicide rate hits lowest point in 23 years

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte hit a new low in 2011; the lowest homicide rate in more than 20 years.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released its 2011 Crime Statistics on Tuesday.

There were 55 homicides across the city in 2011, compared to 59 in 2010. That's a 6.8 percent decrease and the lowest homicide rate since 1988, according to CMPD.

The overall crime index was also down 7.1 percent compared year-over-year.

Property crimes and violent crimes also went down, 7.8 and 2.1 percent respectively.

Chief Rodney Monroe says the decrease is  because the community and a good working relationship with the new District Attorney.

"I couldn't have asked for a better relationship with the District Attorney's office that sees things as we do," the chief said.  "The priorities making sure that we focus on the right people, make sure we receive stiffer sentences for individuals who are committing crimes, as well as not randomly letting people out of jail people we arrest."

Monroe says despite this decrease his work is far from over.

"We'll never claim victory," Monroe said.  "We are always going to look for ways to do things better, whether it is in communications, on the street, whether it's in the DA's office."

Not all was good news. CMPD did report an increase in aggravated assaults.  There was nearly a 4% increase. And some police divisions saw an increase in crime in their area.

The chief says he won't try new strategies this year to combat crime.  He will continue to keep police on the streets and asking for the community's help.

"Let's keep trying to do the things that we've been doing even better," Monroe said.  "Rather than trying to develop any new additional strategies, and with the DNC coming up - let's try  what we've been successful on and see if we can take this to the new level."

Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.