Violent crime up 8.4%; property crimes, 9.7%

Property and violent crimes reported though May continued to outpace crime during the same period last year.

Violent crime is up 8.4 percent and property crime increased 9.7 percent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reported Tuesday.

The increasing numbers were buoyed by a jump in thefts from automobiles – the city's most prevalent crime, with 7,959 thefts from cars in the first five months of the year. That's a 27.3 percent jump from the same period in 2007.

The year's upward trend has prompted some residents to demand answers from city hall, and, in some cases, patrol their own streets. A few neighborhoods have hired extra officers and some have formed citizen patrols.

Police say they're frustrated too, but predict improvement in June. A preliminary count shows low crime figures for June, which may also bring down this year's six-month total, said Deputy Chief Jerry Sennett.

He could not supply figures Tuesday because the department needs time to verify and analyze the June crime reports.

One June figure that is certain: Police investigated 42 homicides, compared to 38 during the same period last year.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's crime rate has generally declined over the past decade.

The violent crime rate last year hit its lowest level since 1993 – with 960.2 violent crimes per 100,000 people.

The rate of property crime has remained relatively flat but edged up in four of the last five years.