Police say 'Operation Avalanche' is helping keep criminals off the street

Five homicides in the first two weeks of 2017 – it was a violent start to the New Year. But CMPD said crime is going down.

‘Operation Avalanche’ launched on January 22. So far, there have been more than 100 arrests as more officers are being placed in four key neighborhoods across Charlotte.

The busy street of The Plaza near Eastway has become the scene of dozens of crimes over the past several months.

“I have seen assault crimes. There have been robberies, vandalism. There has been gun fire out there,” Leonzo Smith said, a neighbor.

The spike in crime is why the neighborhood has been one of the key targets of CMPD’s Operation Avalanche.

Along with Central Avenue, Eastway, Milton Road, The Plaza,  Sugar Creek and the I-85 Corridor, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said there have been 140 arrests and a 79 percent decrease in violent crime in these areas since January 23.

“In the seven week period that Avalanche has been operating there have been 45 violent crimes reported. The three year average for that same period is usually 210.”

That is 165 fewer victims of violent crime in the Charlotte area compared to last year. The success in large part thanks to about 40 more police officers who have been deployed to the targeted areas.

“I have seen the police presence kind of increase. Not a lot of activity going on. Not a lot of late night noise,” Corey Evans said, a neighbor.

More officers have been sent to certain neighborhoods with a focus on officer-initiated activity like traffic stops. So far, those have helped police arrest seven people accused of felony crimes.

“I appreciate the effort and it’s working,” Smith said.

CMPD said this operation will continue and could even expand into other areas. Police said the effort is not costing the city any extra money and is not taking away officers from other neighborhoods across the Queen City.