Crime & Courts

Rape, aggravated assault and other violent crimes spike in Charlotte, CMPD says

Records show highs, lows for Charlotte homicides

Police in Charlotte, N.C. have been tracking homicides since 1971. Here’s how recent numbers compare.
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Police in Charlotte, N.C. have been tracking homicides since 1971. Here’s how recent numbers compare.

Charlotte’s violent crime was up 20% between April and June compared to the same period in 2018, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The recent spike in homicides — the city has already passed 2018’s year-end homicide total — has attracted headlines, but other types of violent crime have increased, too.

Aggravated assault is up 21% compared to the second quarter of 2018, police said. Rape is up 14%, and robbery increased 9%.

As he released the new crime data Wednesday, CMPD Deputy Chief Gerald Smith reiterated what police have been saying all year: They want people to learn to resolve arguments peacefully. At least 15 of this year’s homicides have been related to arguments, police say — more than any other single cause.

“It’s just people not possessing the skills to work through their disagreements,” Smith said. “Arguments that escalate to just senseless violence instead of just taking a moment to discuss what’s going on.”

Unlike violent crime, property crime is happening at about the same level as 2018. Burglary and vehicle theft declined slightly compared to last year, police said, while larcenies from automobiles increased by less than 2%.

Police say they’re working hard to solve all these cases.

Arrests are up 4% so far this year, and police have taken nearly 1,000 illegally obtained guns off the streets.

CMPD reports that its clearance rates — similar to arrest rates — for robbery, sexual assault and homicide are all above national averages, though that doesn’t solve the issue of why so many violent crimes are happening in the first place.

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Jane Wester is a Charlotte native and has been covering criminal justice and public safety for The Charlotte Observer since May 2017.

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