CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are getting more resources to help address violent crimes. Charlotte City Council has approved accepting $3 million in federal grants focused on sexual assaults and cold case murders.
The department picked up $900,000 to continue the National Sexual Assault Kit initiative or SAKI, which the department has received since 2016.
This money will help the department collect DNA samples from felony offenders across the state to input into a national system that is scanned when crimes are committed.
The department uses the grant money to pay employees to travel to different counties across the state, asking the sheriff’s assistance in finding offenders who haven’t submitted DNA.
“Sometimes, for various reasons throughout the process, folks will be ordered to submit [DNA] and due to changes in the process, they were missed, for one reason or another,” CMPD Lt. Brian Crum said. “There are several thousand we think some around 20,000 or 30,000 folks in North Carolina that owe the state DNA and so we’re trying to go back and capture that in order to solve open cases that we have.”
The other $2 million grant is also from the federal government SAKI program, but this money will go specifically to address cold cases in the department.
This funding will help the department employ the staff to look closely at the 700 cold cases in CMPD and use updated resources to solve cases.
“CMPD doesn’t forget about you or your loved one, whether you’ve lost someone to violence, or you were the victim yourself,” Crum said. “We continue to pursue the offenders.”
“Both of these grants are going to make the public safer by helping us identify more offenders and taking them off the street. It also ensures that folks who have committed crimes that owe the state DNA that should be in that system to ensure that they don’t offend other folks, or they don’t commit other crimes,” Crum said.
CMPD says both grants will help the department focus on open cases while continuing the day-to-day work of public safety in the community.
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“We realize violent crime, whether it’s a homicide, a sex assault, or aggravated assault that impacts not just single individuals that impacts the entire community,” Crum said. “We want to bring every resource we can to bear and sometimes that’s financial. Sometimes that’s just providing us the ability to outsource more evidence to do more testing is we want to hold people accountable.”
On top of the $3 million grant, there’s also another $600,000 grant up for consideration from the federal government which will focus more on community patrols and the police cadet program.