CMPD Chief: Property Crime Down, Violent Crime Up In 2020
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Chief Johnny Jennings reviewed his department's 2020 crime report Thursday, which found that property crime was down, while violent crime went up.
Last year, 122 homicides were reported in Charlotte. Of those cases, 70% have been cleared — which is above the national average of 60%. Still, Jennings expressed concern over the rise in violence and the young ages of both victims and suspects. Violent crime was up a total of 16% in 2020.
"Nothing is more frustrating for me as a police chief than to be on a homicide scene or to hear about a homicide where a 15- or 16-year-old has been shot and killed and then to find out that it was a 15- or 16-year-old that committed the crime," he said. "That is disturbing to me."
Jennings said property crime is down 14% and close to 2,300 illegal guns were taken off the street, which is a 9% increase from 2019.
"We see lot of our homicides and a lot of our violent crimes that are involving guns and as we take those illegal guns off the street — those that should never be in the hands of the individuals that we encounter, anyway — I think that’s a big plus for us," Jennings said.
Use-of-force incidents were also down from 437 in 2019 to 385 in 2020. Jennings also noted there was one officer-involved shooting last year compared to six in 2019.
Jennings said in light of the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, police leadership had been meeting to discuss the department's readiness should a similar situation arise in Charlotte.
"At this point there is no indication that Charlotte is under any type of concern for having something similar, but that could change any minute, at a drop of the hat, so we just want to make sure we stay prepared," Jennings said.
Jennings said the department is implementing what he called a “customer service mentality” to ensure more positive interactions with the public in the new year.