West Charlotte residents worried over violence spike

West Charlotte residents worried over violence spike

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by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

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WCNC.com

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 22 at 3:53 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Neighbors say a vacant lot at the corner of LaSalle and Taylor streets in west Charlotte has become a crime magnet.

"Lots of gunshots, drug selling, but I haven’t seen it personally.  But I do worry about my safety walking down through here," said resident Jacquelyn Johnson.

On Monday afternoon a gunfight broke out.  A stray bullet hit a car at the intersection of LaSalle Street and Beatties Ford Road. An 80-year-old woman who was on her way to church was behind the wheel.

"I think it brings a lot to the forefront for us, because it brings a lot of concerns to me, a lot of concern to the officers," said Captain Mike Harris with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

He says officers began noticing an uptick in violence in this area 30 to 45 days ago.

Residents like Tonja Wilson and her daughter Dominique, who will be majoring in math at Clark in Atlanta, are not comfortable walking past the lot.

"I know it's not safe with all these people around, but I guess it's something you get used to when you live around here," said Dominique. Her mother tries to walk around.  "I've learned to kind of ignore it.  I don't look them in their face…you know, eye contact.”

Police say the suspects who are causing the problem range in age from 16 to 22 and not all of them are neighborhood kids.

"What we try to do is make sure that we have a strong, strong presence that encompasses lots of things—everything from officers on foot doing surveillance, officers on bikes," said Captain Harris.

Officers made one arrest for Monday’s incident and the suspects have the full attention of the Metro Division.

"They have no respect.  They will rob you, shoot you, cuss you out, they just have no respect.  They don't care about you.  They don’t care if you are 80 or 20," said Wilson.
 

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