CLT Leaders Respond to Increase in Violence

CHARLOTTE, NC — Crime is on the rise in Charlotte, and CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said Tuesday one solution is to add another 125 officers.

New statistics from CMPD show overall crime is 17 percent above the city’s five year average.

Violent crime increased nearly 10 percent in 2016.

The number of property crimes went up nearly 11 percent.

Homicides were up 13 percent with 68 in 2016 compared to 60 in 2015.

There were more than 2,700 vehicle thefts, an increase of 25 percent.

“It’s very bad. I’m born and raised in Charlotte. Yeah. It’s very bad,” said Will Adams with Team TRUBLUE.

Adams has been working top stop the violence since someone shot and killed his 15-year-old son, Will Adams, Jr. in 2008.

In 2016, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney says most the violent crime involved guns.

“People are too quick to solve minor disputes with gun violence,” said Chief Putney. “If we can get people to put guns down and communicate, we can have positive impact in the area of homicides.”

CMPD seized 1,758 guns last year, and the Chief says officers will keep searching people and cars for illegal firearms.

The Chief says officers will also target repeat offenders and work with the district attorney to ensure charges.

Charlotte City Council Woman Lawana Mayfield says Chief Putney’s plan for more arrests must come with more judges and courtrooms, something lawmakers have to approve.

“The courts haven’t grown since the ’70s,” said Mayfied. “We need more resources.”

Until then, she says city council approved job programs for people lacking financial resources, even felons, in an effort to curb crime.

“You got to be willing to change your life,” said Mayfield.

Anti-crime activists push people to report crimes. However, that takes trust in police.

“We need to build our village back,” said Adams.

Chief Putney says he’s getting more body cameras this year and vows to release more information to the public sooner for transparency.

In the meantime, Adams wants criminals to hear one thing:

“Think before you pull that trigger. Because once you pull that trigger, then your life is in somebody else’s hands,” said Adams. “because you are going to jail.”

Chief Putney also addressed officer-involved shootings Tuesday.

There were 16 last year, five deadly.

The Chief stressed that he needs the public to cooperate with police and allow them to de-escalate and report all officer complaints to him.