One-on-one with Chief Kerr Putney: Homicides, violent crimes involving youth on the rise

There have been 57 homicides across the Charlotte area since the beginning of 2019. That's just one less than the total number of homicides in 2018. 

On Thursday, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney sat down with FOX 46 Charlotte to talk about the ongoing violence and what's being done about it.

"We want to talk about the number as if it is a statistic, but it's not. It's indicative of the families that have been hurt, the lives that have been taken away, and far too soon," Putney said. 

One of those families is that of Calvin Haines. A vigil was held for him Thursday night. The 22-year-old was shot and killed at a graduation party in uptown Charlotte on June 11. 

"It is devastating that Charlotte has had this many homicides. Where do we stop? How do we stop?" Jenicia Hairston asked. 

Hariston works with Mothers of Murdered Offspring, a group that fights against violence among youth. She told FOX 46 she's lost count of the times she's had to be there for families this year.

"The ages of the children are getting younger and younger," Hairston said. 

Chief Putney also addressed the large number violent crimes involving of young people this year.

"They're choosing violence to resolve minor conflict. They're choosing to grab a gun instead of talking it out," Putney said. 

Putney said his concentration isn't necessarily on the number, but he said his department is working to do more in keeping that number from getting much higher.

"We see people losing their lives over drugs and arguments when it's really not that serious. They should be focused on their future and what we're doing as well is partnering with our vision academy and giving them the idea of what the city has to offer instead of the negative that they're bombarded with every day."

He said there has been an effort to be proactive with programs through civic groups and the city to show a life outside the streets. But others said more can be done.

"You don't have anything for these kids to do. You have to get resources back into the community," said Will Adams with Team Trublue, an organization that works to help at-risk youth.

Community members FOX 46 spoke with said they want to see more community policing. They said it could put an end to many feeling frustrated and upset for the families that have had to deal with what the Haines family is dealing with now.

"Violence is going to happen. Death is going to happen. It's promised to us all, but it is not your job to take it from someone," Hairston said. 

Putney said the parts of the city seeing the most violence are getting fed up with it and noted the public's help in identifying the suspects in the Beatties Ford Road shooting this week as one of the signs that it is indeed happening.

"What we saw on Beatties Ford Road was people who are tired of seeing people victimized and people losing their lives. People are starting to get frustrated by that, and that's not a bad thing," he said. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in many of the unsolved homicide cases it is simply because no one is willing to come forward with information.