The crowded sidewalks of NoDa and Plaza Midwood just got a little busier.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers will begin foot patrols in both neighborhoods Wednesday night.
The two neighborhoods were chosen because they’re both growing entertainment districts with lots of foot traffic, Lt. Luke Sell said. He said he expects the officers will handle – deter – incidents like car theft, assault and people being drunk and disorderly.
Officers will patrol Wednesday through Saturday, from about 6 p.m. to 4 a.m., Sell said. The program is a pilot for this summer, and police will decide in August whether to continue it in the fall.
The three officers on the beat are expected to develop relationships in the neighborhoods and get to know local business owners.
“It allows them to know what’s going on, what’s supposed to be going on in a back parking lot or an alley,” Sell said.
David Hale, vice president of the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association, said the association has been advocating for a program like this for a while. He and Blake Barnes, who owns the Common Market on Commonwealth Avenue, said pedestrian traffic has increased tremendously in recent years.
“When you bring more people in, there’s a higher risk of things that can go wrong,” Hale said.
Hale said high-profile crimes in his neighborhood in the past year have shone a spotlight on the importance of safety.
The shooting of Katherine “Kétie” Memory Jones, 26, whose body was found behind a real estate office on The Plaza in October, was the neighborhood’s first homicide since 2013. In December, a man and a woman were shot after a robbery at a shopping center on Central Avenue.