Police operation helps clean up area near uptown

Police operation helps clean up area near uptown

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by GREG ARGOS / NewsChannel 36

WCNC.com

Posted on October 19, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 19 at 5:15 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --  Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have released its latest crime statistics and crime is down 23 percent over the three-year average as a whole.

But there are still some trouble spots with prostitution, particularly in the Noda area, which is known as a vibrant, working class neighborhood.

So when Charlotte-Mecklenburg police noticed an increase in crime and prostitution this past summer in the area, they quickly increased patrol and developed a plan to attack crime.

"We did an undercover operation in that area, so we had our vice and narcotics team go out and try to solicit some of the prostitutes in this area," CMPD captain Demetria Faulkner-Welch said.

Police said their investigation was effective. They made 20 arrests since July. Many of the prostitutes arrested were repeat offenders, which led to taking drugs, guns and cash out of the Plaza neighborhood.

Several of the residents in the neighborhood have noticed a change, too. Grocery store owner Mike Bairu and director of the Plaza Baptist School Vick Dial both said the area has been cleaned up and become more vibrant.

"They drive all over and check up on you," Bairu said of the stronger police presence."They're watching every spot in [the neighborhood]."

Vicky Dial, the director at The Plaza Baptist Church, just down the street from Bairu's store says she's also noticed a problem with prostitutes, but says police have been very helpful in getting those women off the streets.

"Usually we just contact our local police department," she explained when she saw prostitutes. 

" [Police] usually show up, and things change," Dial continued.

The operation was executed from July through September. Police continue to monitor the area on a frequent basis to make sure the neighborhood remains a safe community.

Besides a crackdown on prostitution, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say they're also closely monitoring commercial burglaries, which have been on the rise this year. Deputy Chief Kerr Putney says the reason for that increase is due to cases where burglars break into public storage centers and steal from multiple units. Each vandalized unit is considered one burglary.

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