Crime & Courts

Grim statistics behind Charlotte-Mecklenburg homicides

For the last few days, much of Charlotte has been focused on homicides.

Labor Day weekend saw five homicides in a two-day period, including the tragic death of a 7-year-old during a birthday party. Police say they believe those killings are gang-related, and several victims were innocent people caught in the crossfire.

Increases in violence have been coming for some time. Last month, crime statistics from across the country showed many U.S. cities — including Charlotte – had a surge in killings.

By late Wednesday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police had investigated 43 homicides in 2015. That’s one more than officers had investigated in all of 2014, which had a record low number of killings – and there’s still more than three months to go in the year.

At the end of each year, we request details about the year’s killings, tracking statistics that get to the bigger questions about crime trends and victims. But some statistics are already beginning to stand out about who has been killed in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

Some of the trends:

▪ Of the 43 homicides investigated so far this year, 15 remain open, giving the department a homicide solve rate of about 66 percent. That’s higher than the national average, which hovers around 65 percent, but lower than last year’s homicide solve rate, which was 89 percent.

▪ Two children have been victims of homicide. Kevin Rodas was the 7-year-old killed on Saturday. And earlier this year, Luis Miguel Rodriguez, just a month old, was killed in an apartment on Canterwood Drive in northeast Charlotte. His mother was charged with his death. Last year, a 2-year-old boy killed in south Charlotte was the city’s lone homicide victim under 18.

▪ Police investigated five domestic violence -related homicides, according to police statistics. For the last three years, the city has seen relatively low numbers of domestic violence homicides, a fact advocates had attributed to heightened awareness. Three people were killed in domestic violence homicides in 2013 and 2014.

▪ In three separate instances, victims were killed in multiple homicides. This included the killing of Mirjana Puhar on Atmore Street just north of Charlotte. Police believe all three of the multiple killings had some drug connections.

▪ Although African-American’s make up only about 35 percent of the population of Charlotte, nearly two out of three homicide victims were black (28 out of 43). Black men under age 30 were the city’s most likely victims of homicides. Fifteen – or more than a third – of the victims were black males under 30.

▪ A triangle shaped section of Charlotte that extends from uptown southwest to Interstate 485 continued to have relatively few homicides.

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.:, 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson

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