CHARLOTTE — New data shows North Carolina’s largest city suffered its highest rate of homicides last year in more than a decade.
Charlotte’s 2019 rate of 11.6 homicides per 100,000 people surpassed each year’s since 2005, according to crime data detailed by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department during a news conference on Tuesday. It’s more than double the rate from just six years ago, when the city recorded its lowest homicide rate in recent history.
The number of homicides in 2019 is an 88% increase over the previous year, with 107 homicides recorded as opposed to the 57 documented in 2018.
The police department has pointed to an increase in conflicts over minor things such as fast food or small amounts of cash that have escalated to homicide. Police Chief Kerr Putney also said the department often arrests people on a murder charge who have criminal histories and charges that have been dropped.
Putney said the criminal justice system “is failing our public in the area of accountability,” the Charlotte Observer reported.
As the rate climbed in 2019, the chief criticized judges for granting bail to people with murder charges and denounced the number of criminal charges dismissed by county prosecutors.
At a January meeting, the Charlotte City Council said the surge in homicides is a public health crisis and called for investment in community-based resources and youth programs.
“It can’t just be about policing anymore,” Mayor Vi Lyles said. “We want to actually figure out how to make change sustainable.”