HICKORY, N.C. — 107: That’s how many people were murdered in Charlotte in 2019, and Monday night, leaders faced difficult criticism at a city council meeting where neighbors demanded answers and action on how to deal with violent crime in the city.
The Jan. 6 meeting came to a tense end with many feeling like the real issues with violence in Charlotte weren’t addressed.
One community activist says wants more help from city officials, saying outside groups can’t provide data on what needs to be done here.
“You can’t walk into a person’s house and tell them what’s in their refrigerator,” said Will Adams with Team TruBlu, a local anti-violence organization.
The two-hour meeting detailed everything from what causes violent crime in charlotte to how the city plans to fight it. Analysis from CMPD and John Hopkins University says specific areas of town, drugs and code issues are all reasons for violence.
“When marijuana went from a thousand dollars a pound to five dollars a pound it became very, very valuable,” CMPD Deputy Chief Gerald Smith said.
As Mayor Vi Lyles and city council members listened to the presentation by John Hopkins and provided feedback, others felt the data wasn’t good enough.
“Baltimore is one of the most violent cities in the country and John Hopkins is right there in the neighborhood. If the John Hopkins approach and its data was so great. Why hasn’t it fixed anything in Baltimore,” Robert Dawkins, political director for Action NC.
CMPD’s crime statistics shows an overall five percent crime increase compared to 2018. As city leaders discuss ways to bring the violence down, community leaders suggest investing in what already exists.
“We’ve been doing this, now you want to talk about data? I gave you data six months ago,” said Adams.
Mayor Lyles says this is a conversation that will continue. Monday’s meeting was only the beginning. She says the responsibility is not just that of CMPD, but the entire community.