Last week Charlotte-Mecklenburg police released crime statistics for 2015 and it was mostly the same bad news that’s been coming out for the last year.
Overall, crime is up by 10.6 percent through the end of the third quarter, police said. Crime is up in every crime category. Violent crime is up by 17.6 percent, according to the police department. Rapes are up more than 17 percent, shootings are up 31 percent. Even bike thefts are up 4.5 percent.
In announcing the third-quarter crime statistics, police said they were frustrated by the numbers. And they’ve launched several new initiatives to stem crime, like setting up a hotline for community members to report illegal liquor houses, which have been hotbeds of violence. They’re also exploring making certain parts of towns “exclusion zones,” a controversial idea that would ban those arrested there from returning for up to a year.
Still, a closer look into the statistics reveals two troubling details: There has been a surge in domestic violence killings and homicides have tripled in the North Tryon Division.
The North Tryon Division
Homicides are up in almost every police division, but the North Tryon Division has seen a greater surge than the other 12. The number of killings there tripled through the third quarter, from three in 2014 to nine through September of this year.
The division starts just northeast of uptown and includes the Hidden Valley and Shannon Park communities and a lot of Tryon Street’s business corridor leading up to Charlotte’s University area.
It also includes the Plaza area, which has seen a large amount of gun crimes. Earlier this month, police say two men at the Plaza and Ilford Street shot and killed each other. Neighbors said the confrontation occurred after one man accused another of breaking into his car.
Police said the same location had been the site of a drive-by shooting in August.
Domestic violence homicides
Mecklenburg County has seen seven domestic violence-related homicides so far this year. That’s almost double the number from 2014, when police investigated four. And there’s still more than two months left in the year.
Beá Cote, the chair of Mecklenburg’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Council, said the troubling thing about the number of killings is how many other domestic violence crimes are happening. She said most intimate partner violence is never reported.
“What’s scary is that the number of homicides is representative of a larger uptick in serious domestic violence,” Cote said. “I think we have a community that’s still not doing a good job of holding people accountable. We’re not funding the courts the way we should. There’s no funding for batterer intervention programs.”
She said the county needs to better track domestic violence cases through the court system in order to see positive results and require treatment for more batterers.