There were 12 murders in Charlotte from January through March of this year, compared to 21 homicides during the first three months of last year.
Charlotte saw a spike in its murder rate last year, with 86 homicides. That number was up from 68 murders in 2016. The 12 homicides the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department reported during the first quarter of this year is essentially on par with the average number of homicides during that same three-month period in 2013 through 2016.
Dr. Michael Turner, chair of the Criminal Justice and Criminology department at UNC Charlotte, said last year may have been an “odd year” in terms of lethal violence.
"We might not have a trend in violence that is growing," Turner said. "We might be just kind of bouncing around at a level that is actually fairly low when you put it in the context of the larger 50 or 60 year period”
Turner said criminologists like to see data from several comparable time periods before determining whether crime rates are rising or falling.
According to Turner, the current number of homicides is even lower when viewed in terms of overall rates nationwide.
"We remain in an era that we’re actually fairly safe," Turner said. "I mean if you go back and look at the national rates of homicide, we are at levels that are comparable to the mid-to-late-'60s”
The 86 homicides in Charlotte last year did not set a record for deadly violence. The city recorded 129 murders in 1993, when the population was just a little over half of what it is today.