CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Last week was a violent one in Charlotte, so residents may not feel like they are seeing fewer blue lights and crime scenes.
On Thursday afternoon the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released crime stats for the first quarter of the year which show perception is not reality.
The numbers are quite positive; there are eight murders compared to 12 this time last year. The one category of violent crime that increased is rape, there are 61 cases compared to 52 last year-- a 17-percent jump.
Burglary, the crime that affected the most people, is down 16 percent. Overall property crime is down almost 7-percent and violent crime down 5.3-precent.
"Murders can happen when you're engaging in illegal activity, particularly drug dealing," said Deputy Chief Eddie Levins.
He is talking about the past week in which there were two murders in CMPD’S Metro Division. Police link that violence to marijuana sales.
"Violence related to marijuana sale has increased. We’re seeing the influx of a lot more drugs, particularly marijuana. People think it’s a victimless crime and there is no violence associated with it, but I beg to differ," said Levins.
The briefing was held in the North Division, one of the biggest retailing areas in the city. One of the problems police are trying to combat is theft by professional shoplifters.
"Those folks who are involved in long term career theft are the ones that we want to make sure that were making the strongest cases against," said North Division Lt. Brian Foley.
Retailers have joined hands and intelligence sharing pictures with competitors and the police.
"We send that information out in a blanket; somebody somewhere has seen this person before and we are better able now to identify suspects than we ever have before," said the Lt.
Shoplifting may seem like a nuisance crime, but the department is focused on the little things in the hopes of preventing more serious crimes.