Putney: 'Get serious' on repeat offenders or violent crime will continue

Charlotte Mecklenburg Police and the District Attorney's Office are teaming up in an effort to end violent crime. Sixty people have been murdered in Charlotte as of Monday night, compared to fifty-eight people murdered in all of 2018. 

In a special meeting Monday night, Chief Kerr Putney and District Attorney Spencer B. Merriweather III presented a strong front to Charlotte City Council calling for community safety. The police department has seized one thousand weapons this year and arrests are up ten percent, but still, crime is on the rise.

"Our mission is crime prevention. We want to stop the next crime," said Putney. "Until we get serious on those repeat violent offenders we are going to deal with violence in our city."

While the number of homicides is up compared to last year, Putney said he is more concerned with the people hit hard by the violence. 

"We have at least 60 families that are devastated because of this violence that is senseless," Putney said. 

He also spoke about electronic monitors: "It's being used as a condition of the release far too often for people who are far too violent." 

Putney also gave an update on the crisis prevention team, consisting of officers who are trained to de-escalated situations that may involve mental illness. He said they are essential and have responded to over 640 calls for help so far this year. 

"We are also at the front lines partnering with our law enforcement agencies," said District Attorney Merriweather. 

Merriweather says his office has convicted four people of first degree murder but 215 murder defendants wait for trial. 

"There is so much about the way we are constructed as a judicial system that is built for small ball." Said Merriweather. "That's not built for the type of city we have grown into." 

The D.A. and Chief of Police want crime to be seen as a community health issue as they continue to fight violence of the rise in Charlotte.