Lost by some during the Black Lives Matter protests and civil disorder is the continued crime surge in Charlotte and other urban areas across the nation. To their credit, the Charlotte Observer published a comprehensive look at the uptick in Charlotte’s crime rate on July 2. “In 2019, the city recorded 107 homicides — the highest number since the early 1990s,” notes the article. Right now, Charlotte is on pace to top that number in 2020.
With all the calls for police reform and certainly there is room for reasonable efforts, I still think it’s essential to pump the breaks on many of the criminal justice reforms being thrown around in today’s environment. This is why I recently wrote an article calling for more measured reforms to avoid the return to the peak high crime numbers of the early 1990s. It shouldn’t be controversial to get repeat violent offenders off the street and into jail. It’s clearly not happening enough in Charlotte and many other cities.
In a 2019 media interview, Charlotte Defense Attorney Bill Powers predicted why Charlotte’s violent crime rate will continue to increase. One of the big problems is law enforcement not arresting violent criminals but merely issuing them a summons to appear in court. Likewise, social justice-minded efforts to relax or eradicate bail for violent suspects are merely creating more victims of violent crime and a string of heartbroken families.
For a comprehensive look at the rise in Charlotte’s crime readers must take a look at the two-part explanation written by Powers himself.
Of course, it’s the human stories that are most impactful. I was drawn to this recent CMPD press conference with Charles Billings whose only son was murdered during the block party in June that killed four in Charlotte. You can watch the press conference in the video at the bottom but here is just one line Billings offers up:
“Black on Black crime… Black Lives Matter – show me,” Billings continued. “The only way it’s going to stop is if we turn around and help each other.”
Billings says his grief consumes him. As a father of two boys myself, I can’t imagine his pain right now and all I can say is my heart goes out to him and he is in my prayers.
Another prescient thought from Rev. James Barnett, founder of the Stop the Killing Crusade in the Charlotte Observer piece:
“If we don’t do something, this year is going to be worse than last year,” he said. “Crime is running rampant in this community now. And nobody’s saying stop.”
So far this year, about three quarters of the city’s homicide victims were Black. Barnett said that while many in the Black community are outraged when police kill African Americans, they tend to be less so when Black people kill each other.
“It’s like Black lives don’t matter unless they’re killed by the police,” said Barnett, who is Black.
Of course, one could go on and on about the crime in Charlotte and other urban sectors of our nation. There are plenty of heartbreaking stories that are painful to read or hear about.
I’m sure some readers are familiar with some of the videos going viral of brazen murders in New York City and other cities all over the internet right now. When is enough enough?
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp recently mobilized the National Guard to Atlanta because of the failure of city leadership to effectively address violent crime.
Politicians constantly bloviating about the evils of law enforcement while ineffectual at protecting the victims in their own cities — a majority of the victims are black by the way—really need to get serious about their job and why they are in public service. Lawmakers and city officials have a duty to protect life and Charlotte is sadly becoming a great example of officials pointing fingers and failing to lead.