Overall crime rate down for 2014, CMPD says

Charlotte’s overall crime rate has decreased by 3.2 percent this year, police said Friday.

Numbers from January through June are down for the majority of offenses, compared with the same time period last year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Deputy Chief Eddie Levins said at a news briefing.

Violent crime decreased by 6.5 percent, while property crime was down 2.7 percent. The biggest decreases were in rapes, which dropped almost 16 percent, and arsons, which dropped nearly 30 percent.

Homicides dropped almost 5 percent while burglaries decreased 12 percent.

The only categories to increase were larceny and commercial burglary, which each experienced an uptick of 2 percent or less.

Levins noted that though the overall message of the statistics is positive, CMPD will continue to focus on decreasing crime across the board.

CMPD Capt. Rob Dance also spoke at Friday’s briefing, noting the recent expansion of the Child Development-Community Policing program, which connects mental health specialists with children who are witnesses or victims of violent crime.

The program began in 1996 and has since spread to seven of CMPD’s 13 patrol divisions.

The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners recently approved the program’s expansion. Within three years, it will be available in all of Mecklenburg County.

This year, it will expand to two more patrol divisions – Hickory Grove and University City.

Dance emphasized the importance of the program as a way to help prevent crime, noting that children who are exposed to violence are more likely to commit crimes as they get older.

Giving them a chance to meet with a professional will allow them to better process what they have experienced, he said.

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