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CMPD Unveils 2 New Programs, Reports Violent Crime Up

Erin Keever

During its weekly press conference Wednesday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said violent crime is up this year, while overall crime is down. CMPD also spoke about two new programs — one directed at how officers respond to calls, and the other giving the public the ability to text 911.

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said that third quarter crime statistics show that while overall crime is down 10% — notably property crime being down 14% — violent crime has increased this year by 11%. Jennings stated he was concerned by the young ages of both victims and suspects.

Charlotte has had 88 homicides this year, compared to 77 this time last year.

CMPD has responded to almost 270,000 calls for service and officers have made more than 11,000 arrests.

New Programs

CMPD also discussed two new programs it started this month. The first is called Safe Outcomes. Its goal is to better communication when an officer is called to a scene and encounters people in vulnerable populations — those with Alzheimer’s, autism, or suffering from PTSD.

Here’s how it works: A caregiver goes to safeoutcomes.charlottenc.gov and enters confidential information that would be helpful for officers to know before they arrive to a call. Deputy Chief Stella Patterson used the example of someone with PTSD who is triggered by bright, flashing blue police lights. If that information is in the Safe Outcomes registry, officers can adjust how they approach that person.

"It starts with our 911 telecommunicators," she said. "They are trained and know what information is in the registry so they can flag the call and be sure to tell the officer that there is a Safe Outcomes entry and the officer can know that information upon going to the call."

CMPD says texting 911 in emergency situations is now an option. CMPD says the text to 911 program is for the hard-of-hearing, deaf or for those in a certain situation where talking would put them in danger.

People using their cellphone need to text 911 their exact location, street address, and nature of the emergency, but there are limitations — no emojis, photos, videos, or slang.

People in need of translation services will still need to call 911. CMPD is urging the public to call 911 when possible.

Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.