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A Public Health Approach To Charlotte's Rising Homicide Rate

police tape

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The homicide rate is rising here and around the country. The CDC calls it a public health crisis. Why is this happening and what’s being done to reverse it? We find out.

Why, after decades of declining homicide rates, are the number of homicides in Charlotte and other major cities on the rise? The city has seen two consecutive years of increasing homicide rates and it's up sharply so far this year. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reports 22 homicides just a few months into 2017, three times more than the same time last year.

What can be done about the uptick in homicides? Part of the answer is preventing violence in the first place, and the issue is getting more attention from a perspective that might surprise you - health care. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called violence a serious public health problem that requires a public health approach.

Violence prevention is the subject of an upcoming conference in Charlotte, hosted by one of the city's hospital systems. The hospital sees the effects of this problem first-hand as they encounter victims of violence daily in life-and-death situations.

Mike Collins talks with some of those involved in violence prevention efforts including a Charlotte trauma surgeon who is committed to reducing the number of people he sees in the emergency room.


Dr. Michael Turner - Professor and Chair; Dept. of Criminal Justice & Criminology at UNC Charlotte.

Dr. David Jacobs - Medical Director and Trauma Surgeon, F. H. “Sammy” Ross, Jr. Trauma Center, Carolinas Medical Center. He's also chairman of the hospital's Violence Prevention Committee.

Darrel Stephens - Executive director, Major Cities Chiefs Association; former chief of police for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (1999-2008)

Dr. Alex Crosby - Branch Chief, Surveillance Branch, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Event Info:

The 12th Annual Youth Violence Prevention Conference “(Why) Is Violence in America on the Rise - What Must Charlotte Do?” is April 7th, 8am-3:30pm at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. Details.

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Erin Keever is Senior Producer of WFAE's Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. She has been with the show since joining the station in 2006. She's a native Charlottean.