As overall crime increases, youth are the main contributors, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s third-quarter crime report.
In the first nine months of 2023, CMPD reports that overall crime in 2023 has risen by 11% due to a continued spike in property crime (up 14%) and vehicle thefts (125%).
Most of these incidents are committed by youth, police said. So far this year, there have been 2,211 youth arrests, a 36% increase.
Deputy Chief Jacquelyn Hulsey said the increase in youth crime is an “alarming concern” in the department.
“That tells us that our juveniles are on the wrong track,’ she told reporters, “They need learn skills and how to navigate this complex society.”
Guns and cars
More than 2,600 guns have been seized (up 10%). There have been 1,452 guns reported stolen, up 18% from last year. More than 900 were reportedly stolen from automobiles.
Overall shootings increased 2% from the year prior. Police reported there have been 79 shootings involving youth so far this year.
Police attribute many of the auto theft incidents to Kia/Hyundai Challenge, a social media trend that encouraged people to break into and steal cars.
So far this year, more than 3,700 Kia and Hyundai vehicles have been stolen.
There have been more than 600 youth arrests for auto theft, up 190% from last year.
Four youth offenders have committed over 30 car theft crimes combined this year. The youngest offender is 11 years old, police said.
CMPD reports it has seen a reduction in the rate of vehicle thefts from the 143% increase reported in mid-July this year.
The department is patrolling more targeted auto theft areas in the city and offering free steering wheel locks to residents with Kia and Hyundai vehicles.
Combating the issue
Hulsey said she believes youth crime can decrease with more input from parents. Many of the youth offenders have a “lack of structure” in their at-home life.
The department has a number of youth engagement programs that parents can sign their children up for.
Hulsey also encouraged families to get their children involved in extracurricular activities like sports to keep them out of trouble.
“It takes more than the police to fix this issue,” Hulsey said.
2023 compared to 2022
The following breakdown below provides an overall snapshot of crime, year-to-date provided by CMPD:
- Violent crimes: 5,329 offenses in 2023 compared to 5,579 offenses in 2022
- Homicides: 69 in 2023 compared to 85 in 2022
- Rapes: 185 in 2023 compared to 217 in 2022
- Armed robberies: 995 in 2023 compared to 1,114 in 2022
- Property crimes: 27,842 offenses in 2023 compared to 24,378 in 2022
- Residential burglaries: 1,464 in 2023 compared to 1,613 in 2022
- Commercial burglaries: 1,569 in 2023 compared to 1,610 in 2022
- Larcenies from automobiles: 8,291 in 2023 compared to 7,812 in 2022
- Vehicle thefts: 5,824 in 2023 compared to 2,594 in 2022
- Arsons: 106 in 2023 compared to 118 in 2022