Charlotte crime rate higher than national average

| February 23, 2012

Crime in Charlotte, per 1,000 people, compared to the state and nationally. Graphic courtesy of Christain Billings

Crime. It happens everywhere, it touches everyone’s life. The outstretched reach of crime affects every region, from the nation to UNC Charlotte.

Across the nation, an average of 38.17 crimes occur per every 1,000 citizens. North Carolina as a whole is slightly lower than this average, with 38.11 crimes per 1,000 citizens.

Charlotte, N.C. works to pull up the state average. Charlotte sees an average of 47.02 crimes per 1,000 people, according to an online service called Neighborhood Scout.

The city, which is home to over 730,000 people, was ranked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the top 25 American cities with large populations in terms of crime occurrences in 2010.

Jeffrey Baker, chief of police for the Police and Public Safety Department, says that despite the crime rate in the surrounding area, UNC Charlotte is a safe place to be.

Compared to the rest of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region, the crime rate is “extremely low. It’s not what I think, it’s what I know,” said Baker. “We work very closely with [Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD)] and that’s important as well. The partnership that we have with CMPD is with the university division, but I can assure you that the comparative crime rates are unbelievably low.”

Since coming to UNC Charlotte as the chief of police, Baker says that’s campus crime rates have dropped 30 percent. Baker attributes this decrease to the combined efforts of Chancellor Philip Dubois and the 40 officers who are a part of the campus police squad. “Some of the factors that contribute to [the decrease in crime are that] the chancellor funded those sky towers. Combined with that we have strategic patrols that work the parking lots, walk the parking lots, ride bicycles. We work the parking decks on foot,” said Baker.

While campus police work to make campus safe, Baker says that crime is impossible to completely eliminate. “When a crime does occur on a university, all of a sudden it’s like ‘oh! How could this happen?’ When really it happens because crime happens. It’s really a tough road sometimes,” said Baker. “Sometimes crime occurs and we’ve tried everything we can to keep it away and stop it, suppress it, but sometimes crime occurs.”

Because crime is inevitable on a campus with over 30,000 students, faculty and staff members, it is important for everyone to have a hand in their own safety on campus, Baker says. “Not just students but anybody, should be aware of their surroundings, make sure that they secure [their] items. And then the other thing is, walk with someone when you can. Try to always avoid being isolated,” said Baker. “And if you do that, you’ll be real safe.”

As campus and the surrounding community grows, Baker projects that more officers will have to be added to the campus police force in order to effectively protect everyone on campus and those in the university area. “Campuses that are constantly expanding, growing, they’re urban. And you have to have a vibrant and energetic police force to help protect that community. You look at our community,” said Baker. “We have probably 30,000 people here. CMPD with the enforcement of law there’s another 20,000. So we really have a community of maybe approximately 45 or 50 thousand people that we support. We want to make certain that when we do that we can do it adequately.”

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Category:Crime, News

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Twitter: @andcierasaid Personal email: cierachoate@gmail.com

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