Property crimes increasing in 2012

South Charlotte residents are dealing with more property crimes so far this year than what was seen in 2011, though the prolific crimes of home and vehicle break-ins stayed almost even in the majority of south Charlotte.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released crime statistics last week comparing what’s happened this year and last. The city as a whole has seen violent crime increase nearly 13 percent – with an increase in rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults – and in property crimes – where vehicle break-ins, vehicle thefts and shoplifting all increased.

Numbers are better in south Charlotte, which is mostly covered by the department’s South Division. The division saw a 4.7 percent decrease, or five cases, in violent crimes. Violent crimes include murder, rape, assault and robberies, and though South Division saw slight increases in the number of rapes and strong-armed robberies, the main decline was five fewer armed robberies.

Property crimes increased in South Division by 43 cases, with a large chunk of that coming in the amount of cars that have been stolen this year. A total of 55 cars were stolen as of the end of September, compared to 38 the year before. Shoplifting also increased, from 124 cases to 152, while car break-ins – one of the area’s biggest problems – increased by only five cases.

Home break-ins, another key focus for area police, decreased so far this year by two cases. Business break-ins also are down.

Though the increases have been minimal this year, South Division Capt. James Wilson has his team working to get numbers down for the fourth quarter.

“We’re up 3 percent, which I’m not happy about especially after four years of reductions,” Wilson said. “About 90 percent of our crime is property crime, and about 55 percent (of that) is residential burglaries and larcenies from autos.”

Wilson said he’s pleased with recent acts of residents calling 911 to report suspicious activity, with one call leading to the arrest of a man who confessed to six car break-ins in the South Mecklenburg High School area.

Wilson asked area residents to continue to be vigilant and call 911 when they see anything suspicious to help lower the property crime rate.

The Providence Division, which patrols the Cotswold, Foxcroft and SouthPark areas, among other neighborhoods, also saw increases so far this year. Violent crimes are up by more than 17 percent, with property crimes increasing by roughly 3 percent. The division has seen two more murders this year and a 44.7 percent increase in robberies.

Home break-ins also increased, from 218 cases to 234, while car break-ins plummeted nearly 100 cases, from 524 to 439.

Despite the increases, the South Division and Providence Division still have some of the lowest crime statistics in the city so far this year. South Division’s property crimes, at 1,361 this year, are the lowest in the city by at least 170 incidents. Its violent crimes are the lowest by 61 incidents.

Providence Division ranked seventh in property crimes and second in violent crimes.

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