Local crime stats on target with 2013 despite recent spike

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s South Division has seen nearly the same amount of incidents so far this year as in 2013, though recent trends have caused some concern for local officers.

South Division officers, who patrol south of Fairview Road and include the Ballantyne area, have recorded 800 property crime incidents as of June 23 compared to 799 incidents in the same timeframe last year, Capt. Jim Wilson said. But those statistics have been tempered as of late due to a recent spike in vehicle break-ins, and the division has seen 142 such incidents this quarter compared to 96 the same time last year.

Drivers haven’t done much to help their own cause in most of those cases, Wilson said.

“Almost all of the vehicles that are broken into have some sort of electronics or valuables left in plain sight,” Wilson said. “Thieves go to apartment complexes, condominiums … and when they break into a car it’s because they see something they want.”

Despite the spike, South Division hasn’t seen an increase when considering the entire year. The division had 218 vehicle break-ins through June 23 compared to 218 the same time last year. The division would have seen a drop in crime for the year if not for the recent small break-ins sprees, Wilson said.

“What we’re doing is our typical response,” Wilson said to how the division is handling the recent increase. “When neighborhoods experience something like this … we’re putting officers in there to educate people.”

The division holds a “Banner Campaign” where an officer sits at the entrance to a community with a banner warning people to lock their vehicles and take valuables out. Officers also canvas the neighborhood to talk with residents about keeping their possessions safe.

While local crimes have increased this year, numbers are still low compared to the rest of the city. There were 116 home break-ins, 33 business break-ins and 218 vehicle break-ins in south Charlotte through June 23 as area officers work against their past success: through June 23, 2013, there were 106 home break-ins, 29 business break-ins and 218 vehicle break-ins. CMPD’s South Division, which covers an estimated 147,000 residents, has led or been near the top on the list of Charlotte divisions with the lowest crime rate for years.

One of the recent problem areas has been in the South Division’s Ballantyne zone, which also covers some neighborhoods slightly north of Ballantyne and neighborhoods around Providence Crossing. The response area has seen 10 more home break-ins this year, from 44 to 54, and 12 more business break-ins.

A recent trend in the area has seen thieves break into homes targeting high-end and costume jewelry, Wilson said. He recommends residents consider placing their jewelry in a safe deposit box or a home safe to stop criminals who are only looking for such items.

The South Division’s Response Area 3, which covers southeast Charlotte and neighborhoods such as Piper Glen, Providence Plantation and Stone Creek Ranch, saw four homes broken into in May (the same as May 2013) and saw an increase of car break-ins, from four to 10, according to that response area’s newsletter.

Wilson encourages people who are vacationing during the summer to have a neighbor check on their home while they are gone. People also should stop their mail and newspaper delivery.

Email delivery@carolinaweeklynewspapers.com or call 704-849-2261 to place a vacation stop on your issue of South Charlotte Weekly when going out of town.

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Mike Parks

About Mike Parks

Mike Parks has served as managing editor of the Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group since March 2012, having previously served as editor of the group’s South Charlotte Weekly since 2010. Mike graduated with a degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and previously worked for Time Warner Cable News in Charlotte before joining the papers.

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