North Carolina city to shift officers to address murder rate
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The police chief in North Carolina’s largest city says his department is shifting its officers in an attempt to stem a rising rate of murders.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney issued the announcement on Thursday, a day after two teens were killed during a triple shooting in a neighborhood near downtown. Two people have been arrested in the case.
“This has to stop,” Putney said on the department’s Twitter page.
In a statement released by the department, Putney said CMPD would assign more officers to parts of the city that had seen an increase in violence. Putney also said the department would send officers on bicycles, motorcycles, dirt bikes as well patrol cars to focus areas.
His statement didn’t give specific reasons for the increase in murders, but Putney noted that in 19 of the cases the victim and their killer were acquainted.
The Charlotte Observer reports criminal justice experts it contacted said there is no consensus on why some cities have seen a spike in homicides.
“Anybody who declares there is one reason why it happens, is going to end up looking foolish,” said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York City police officer. “These spikes come and they go.”
Charlotte has recorded 25 homicides in the first two months of 2019, compared to six at the same time in 2018. The city also experienced a spike in murders in 2017 when there were 87. That number plummeted to 57 in 2018.
“We are much safer now than we were 50 or 60 years ago,” said Michael Turner, a professor of criminal justice at UNC Charlotte. “It’s premature to say we have a problem based on two months of data.”
Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com