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5 Things to Know: CMPD First Quarter Stats Show COVID-19 Effects

CMPD Releases Crime Stats

Overall crime rates are around the same place they were last year, according to CMPD data released this week. That being said, last year was not a good year at all.

Between January and March, crime rates overall did not rise or fall compared to the same span in 2019, although some stats did show how COVID-19 has affected our society on a short-term basis. Most notably, calls for service related to domestic violence went up by 18% in March, showing how the stay-at-home order has put people at risk. 

During a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Coerte Voorhees recommended that people struggling with an ongoing domestic violence situation contact Safe Alliance at 704-332-2513. 

Other notable stats from Wednesday’s release: 

-There were 27 homicides during the first quarter of 2020, compared to 28 at the same time last year, which saw a record high 107 murders. 

-Robberies are up by 10% compared to the same span last year. 

-There’s been a 14% uptick in shootings into occupied dwellings or properties, most often drive-by shootings, with an 80% increase in March. 

New COVID-19 Stats Released

Friday marked 30 days into Mecklenburg County’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, and new data released that afternoon showed that 913 county residents have tested positive and 12 have died of the virus. Data from the first 869 cases reported through Thursday shows that about half of those cases have been released from isolation. About three in every four cases have been in people aged 20 to 49. Though only around 20% of cases have required hospitalization, people aged 60 and older were four times more likely to be hospitalized. Every Mecklenburg County resident who has died due to the virus has been 60 years old or older and had an underlying chronic illness, according to Mecklenburg County Public Health.

Unapproved Test Showing False Results Locally 

Mecklenburg County Public Health is warning residents that some rapid tests for COVID-19 may provide misleading results, giving a false sense of security that they are safe and not infectious.

“There is at least one non-FDA approved test being used in our community,” Public Health Director Gibbie Harris stated in a press release. “It has a very low sensitivity early in the illness which means a higher likelihood of a false negative result. This could increase the risk that an infectious person would spread the disease.”

Harris says residents who have symptoms of COVID-19 — fever, coughing and shortness of breath — should reach out to their healthcare provider or Mecklenburg County Public Health, and if they fit the criteria, be tested using methods approved by the FDA and accepted by the NC Division of Public Health and local hospitals.

Rolling Protest Calls on Officials to Release More Inmates

A group of community organizers, attorneys and religious leaders known as Decarcerate Mecklenburg held a rolling protest in Uptown yesterday, circling the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, the District Attorney’s Office and CMPD headquarters to advocate for policies that will protect local inmates during the COVID-19 crisis. Protesters called for CMPD to stop making arrests and instead issue citations, and for Mecklenburg County officials to release people being held on bond, people who have six months or less to serve on a conviction, pregnant people, and anyone over 50 years old.

(Photo by Greg Jarrell)

“As this crisis rolls into its second month, it is clear that the judges and DA’s office still don’t grasp that this is an emergency,” said Charlotte-based criminal defense attorney Tim Emry. “Does someone in jail have to die before our county officials wake up? An arrest or an allegation should not be a death sentence.”

Queen City Nerve reported on the formation of Decarcerate Mecklenburg in March. At that time, officials with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office had begun working on releasing some inmates who were not seen as a threat to society, though emails requesting how many had been released at the time of yesterday’s protest went unanswered. 

Missing Woman Found Dead in NoDa

Police announced on Sunday that a woman who had gone missing on March 30 had been found dead, and three people were charged with her murder. Mary Collins, 20, was reported missing after reportedly attending a party in NoDa on March 28. Police found Collins’ body on April 4 on Rollerton Road in the same neighborhood, and on Sunday announced the arrests of James Salerno, 19; Kelly Lavery, 24; and Lavi Pham, 21. All three were charged with kidnapping and murder. Salerno appears to be the man whose picture from the party was shared on social media while Collins was missing due to beliefs that he was involved in her disappearance. 

Mary Collins

On Tuesday night, 17-year-old Qa’dir Alvarest was shot and killed on Heatherbrook Drive in the Hidden Valley neighborhood. Just before 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 41-year-old Joshua Cox was shot and killed at the intersection of Willilyn Lane and Huntwood Drive in west Charlotte. No arrests have been made in either murder. On Friday, police announced that the Feb. 16 killing James McKnight in front of The Trap on Westinghouse Boulevard was deemed “justified,” making the total number of homicides in Charlotte this year 29. 

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