Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Rodney Monroe said Wednesday that the citys overall crime rose by 2.8 percent in 2012, fueled in part by an increase in robberies and aggravated assaults.
The department recorded 1,798 robberies during the past year, an increase from 1,612 in 2011.
In addition, there were 3,165 aggravated assault cases, compared with 2,901 a year earlier.
But the city saw fewer homicides and an overall 9.1 percent decrease in burglaries last year, according to statistics released Wednesday.
The crime statistics were unveiled at a ceremony at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Departments Freedom Division, which saw its overall crime rate go down by 3.5 percent. Police said that was the largest decline among CMPDs 13 divisions.
The Freedom Division covers 46.1 square miles and serves a portion of west Charlotte, including the Freedom Drive corridor and a number of older neighborhoods in the area.
Capt. Gregg Collins said the division and westside has historically been seen as more violent. But he said it was nice to see the year-end stats.
The amount of violence has completely changed, Collins said in an earlier interview.
Collins attributes part of the divisions success to an intense focus on crime prevention and specialized units that watch crime patterns and histories for certain locations and people. Over the past couple of years, the Freedom Division has created special burglar apprehension and domestic violence teams, Collins said.
As a result of the apprehension teams, the division has seen the number of burglaries fall from 802 in 2008 to 527 in 2012, Collins said.
Partnerships with community groups and residents have also helped make neighborhoods within the division safer, police said.
Hannah Clinton, a resident of the Todd Park neighborhood along Toddville Road, began working with CMPD in the 1990s when she first joined the Todd Park Neighborhood Association. Then, she said, the neighborhood was riddled with crime, including street-level drug deals and home invasions. Now, through community-police cooperation, Todd Park is a decent place to live, Clinton said.
I feel they have done an excellent job They took it on as their own neighborhood, said Clinton, who was recognized at Wednesdays ceremony as an important community leader within the Freedom Division.
In 2013, Monroe said the department will focus on enhancing a 24-hour monitoring center for surveillance cameras the department got during the Democratic National Convention, as well as working with the Mecklenburg County District Attorneys Office and judges to focus on repeat offenders.
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