Charlotte Could Pilot a “Violence Interrupter” Program This Fall

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Could a new community-based strategy reduce violent crime in Charlotte?

Some community activists think so, and it’s something City Council could launch as soon as this fall.

A “violence interrupter” program would recruit trusted community members to act as mediators in ongoing conflicts.

“We would be working with those individuals who are already in the communities because they have the connections,” Charlotte City Manager Marcus Jones explained, during a City Council strategy session on Monday night.

The goal is to de-escalate situations that could eventually become deadly.

A fall pilot program would target current victims of violence who are recovering in the hospital, along with outreach on the streets focusing on four crime “hot spots”:

I-85 & Sugar Creek Road, Beatties Ford Road and LaSalle Street, Nations Ford and Arrowood Roads, and Central Ave. and Sharon Amity Road.

Advocates say cities that have “violence interrupter” programs have seen up to a 30 percent reduction in homicides.

Some council members say fall is too long to wait to launch the program.

“We know that we need violent interruption during the summer months, especially we know that we need it now. And given current events, we know we have plenty of community members who are waiting and ready to do the work,” City Council member Braxton Winston said during Monday night’s Strategy Session.

“As we go about doing it the right way, if we can beat the fall, I totally agree with you but that is, we just want to make sure as we do it, we do it in a way that works for Charlotte and not just something off the shelf that may not work for Charlotte,” said City Manager Marcus Jones in response to Winston.

Not everyone is fully on board though.

Some local leaders have raised concerns about putting other people in the middle of potentially violent situations.