CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reported a nearly 7 percent decrease in crime Friday compared with the same time period last year, though police said there has been a slight increase in reported murders, rapes and robberies.
Stastics through the third quarter, released at a briefing Friday, show property crime decreased 7.5 percent and violent crime was down 2.5 percent.
Deputy Chief Eddie Levins said 40 homicides were reported citywide through the end of September, compared with 38 during the same time in 2012. To date, there have been 44 homicides in Charlotte in 2013, compared with 42 during the same period last year.
Levins said many of the deaths could be attributed to “high-risk lifestyles” and could have been avoided.
Through the third quarter of 2013, there have been 185 rapes reported, compared with 177 reports from the same period in 2012. Ninety-six percent of the reported rape cases were known-acquaintances.
Much of Friday’s briefing was dedicated to an ongoing partnership with community agencies serving the homeless population that police said has helped to decrease crime in the North Tryon corridor.
Late last year, police said they saw an uptick in crimes such as robberies, aggravated assaults and drug activity within about a quarter-mile of The Men’s Shelter in the 1200 block of North Tryon.
“We started to see homeless on homeless crime,” said Lt. Brett Balamucki. “There were criminals coming from other parts of the city to prey upon (the homeless).”
CMPD’s Central and Metro divisions began to partner with shelter staff and other organizations such as Urban Ministries and Center City Partners, among numerous others, to connect the homeless with available resources; educate shelter staff and hold private property owners accountable for cleaning up areas frequently used to commit crimes or where the homeless become victimized.
Officers began receiving crisis intervention training to be better prepared to deal with those afflicted by mental illness or substance abuse issues, Balamucki said.
The targeted saturation effort also identified 22 woodland camps, Balamucki said, 20 of which have since been cleaned up.
Of the 32 individuals living in those camps, nine were connected to services and four are now housed, he said. “We did not want to put people out with nowhere to go,” he said.
“Now, at 3 a.m., they’re less likely to be victimized or hit a moment of desperation and commit a crime,” Balamuckis said.
“We’re committing full-time effort to this so we don’t see a reduction (in crimes) and then a spike.”
Officials credit the operation for a 37.5 percent decrease in violent crime, compared with the same time period in 2012. Crime against shelter residents is down 22 percent and 18 calls for police service were made compared to 68 calls last year.