CMPD emphasizes safety as CIAA weekend kicks off

CIAA weekend is about much more than basketball and parties. It has deep historical roots and draws people from across the country.

CMPD has reiterated over the years that CIAA and its official events have always been safe but private venues need to take appropriate security measures to ensure safety. 

“What CIAA is about is a camaraderie; it’s about having fun. Like I said before the family environment, the schools coming together and having competitive play and just having a good time,” said Myracle Stevenson with Food Lion.

It’s the last year for CIAA in the Queen City and there’s a debate whether this event brings more violence to the queen city or whether that’s just untrue.

“The tournament itself has been a safe event over the years. We have had some incidents of violence and some entertainment venues later on after the tournament games have ended,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Estes with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department.

CMPD says CIAA AND official events have always been safe and it’s up to private venues to provide adequate safety and security.

“Good planning makes good preparation which makes a good performance. So if we’ve thought these things, met with the owners, met with the promoters of the event generally, we can try to head off any of those things that happen.”

But things do happen. In 2019, two people were shot at the A.C. hotel near the Epicenter. Both were okay.

In 2018, CMPD made just five arrests and in 2017, 10 people were arrested in Uptown and police investigated a shooting where 100 shots were fired leaving no one injured.

Police arrested nine people for minor offenses in 2016 and charged three people in connection with a drive-by shooting.

In 2015, a shooting was reported at Label nightclub that injured two people.

But how does that stack up to a regular weekend in Uptown? Last weekend, there were five assaults, one stolen vehicle, seven larcenies and one call each for a weapon, drugs and vandalism.

Some feel the violent perception of CIAA weekend is just unfair.

“I don’t see any violence with that. What I see is family, I see community and I just see a celebration of our CIAA schools.”