Records: Charlotte’s homicide rate highest it’s been in two decades

Records: Charlotte’s homicide rate highest it’s been in two decades
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In 2020 Charlotte’s homicide rate was the highest it’s been in 21 years, as the number of murders continues to rise at a faster rate than the population.

The homicide rate measures the number of murder victims per 100,000 residents within CMPD’s jurisdiction. As the population increases, the homicide rate, in theory, should decrease. But in the past few years that hasn’t been the case.

  • And there are about 10 more homicides at this point this year than at the same point last year.

The big picture: Violent crime is up locally and nationally. But unlike the early 90s, when Charlotte had its deadliest years on record as people fought over drugs, today’s homicides are often random and even more senseless. Plus, victims and those charged with their murders keep getting younger.

By the numbers: 1993 was Charlotte’s deadliest year on record with 122 homicides and a 28.3 homicide rate. In 2020 Charlotte had its second highest number of homicides on record with 118, and 12.8 homicide rate. The homicide rate hasn’t been that high since 1999, when it was 13.7.

So while it’s fair to say we shouldn’t compare where we are now to 1993, it’s also fair to say the rate is worse now than at any point this century.

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  • Charlotte’s population was around 451,000 in 1993. The most recent projection from the U.S. Census Bureau puts the 2019 population at about 886,000. (Note: CMPD doesn’t use these exact populations figures because their jurisdiction includes some residents outside of city limits.)
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    Chart: Axios visuals. Data: CMPD

     
    Driving the news: Two homicides over Memorial Day weekend brought this year’s total to 45, which is 10 higher than this time in 2020.

    Violent crime has long been a top focus for community leaders. But activists and police alike are increasingly frustrated by the senseless nature of the murders over the last few years.

    “It’s hard for me to fathom where that comes from. How angry could you be? How embarrassed could you be? How upset could you be? How lonely could you be … that it meant so much that this person’s life meant nothing to you?” Lisa Crawford of Mothers of Murdered Offspring asked as the homicide number kept climbing last December.

    • Crawford’s organization, MOMO, has long supported victim’s families and led initiatives to keep young people from turning to crime.
    • The 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte launched a startling billboard campaign this spring calling for an end to gun violence, specifically in the Black community. They ran a similar campaign back in 1993.
    • Last month the city and county partnered on a new initiative aimed at lowering violent crime in the Beatties Ford corridor.
    100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte billboard1

    One of the 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte’s stop the violence campaign billboards. Courtesy of the 100 Black Men of Greater Charlotte.

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