CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte's crime statistics for 2022 have been shared, showing that while the overall crime rate was up last year, violent crime has trended downward.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released its 2022 End-of-Year Report on Thursday, showing that overall crimes were up by 3%, with property crime also up 6%. However, an encouraging note from Chief Johnny Jennings highlighted a 5% decrease in violent crime last year. Still, Jennings promised CMPD would still fight to keep it down.
"A 5% decrease in violent crime is encouraging, but we will continue to remain laser-focused on deterring these serious offenses in 2023," said Jennings. "There will always be violent crime to fight. Recruiting will continue to be a challenge as it is across the country. But I am incredibly proud and grateful for the men and women of CMPD who answer the call to serve each and every day."
The department touted gun seizures as part of its successes in cutting down on violent crime; such seizures were up 8% in 2022, with more than 3,000 guns taken off of Charlotte's streets. Other highlights from CMPD included tackling reckless bike groups, street racing, illegal gambling, catalytic converter thefts, stolen vehicles, and more.
CMPD provided the following statistics comparing 2022 to 2021:
- 110 homicides in 2022, compared to 98 in 2021
- 7,178 violent crimes in 2022, compared to 7,589 in 2021
- 261 rapes in 2022, compared to 228 in 2021
- 1,996 residential burglaries in 2022, compared to 2,147 in 2021
- 10,367 larcenies from vehicles in 2022, compared to 10,510 in 2021
- 984 armed robberies in 2022, compared to 956 in 2021
- 2,067 commercial burglaries in 2022, compared to 1,603 in 2021
- 3,621 vehicle thefts in 2022, compared to 3,020 in 2021
- 32,335 property crimes in 2022, compared to 30,367 in 2021
- 149 arsons in 2022, compared to 131 in 2021
Police say they're still really concerned with the number of juveniles involved in crimes in Charlotte.
Jennings said, "When you look at, not just the acts that juveniles are committing in a violent way, but it's also the ages of how much younger and younger that we're seeing some of these violent offenders and juveniles become."
Detective Bryan Crum with CMPD's Violent Crimes Unit said, "18 is also the number of defendants we charged that were juveniles. Two of our defendants were 14 years old. 14 is so young to make adult decisions."
CMPD also said teens are partially responsible for the rise in property crimes. In 2022, vehicle thefts went up 20% from the year before. Many of the cars stolen happened during the summer around the time a TikTok video challenged people to steal Kias and Hyundais.
Beyond a focus on crime, CMPD is also working on recruitment and retention efforts to enhance the current workforce, focus on employee wellness and internal culture, and ensure officers have updated equipment and training.
Jennings said even with a $7,500 incentive offered to those who sign on to become officers, he knows there will be challenges with recruitment and keeping employees at the department. He pointed to the mass hiring of officers in the 1990s.
"We project 2023 and 2024 are going to be the highest number of those officers retiring," he said. "I think what we need to do, is turn the narrative of the profession around and to make sure that people understand that this is an admirable and noble job and profession."
Jennings also noted he continues to have ongoing meetings with Mecklenburg County court leaders to discuss issues with the bond system, something he previously discussed with WCNC Charlotte.
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