2023 End-of-Year Public Safety Report

Published on January 11, 2024

News tag for CMPD Articles

Violent Crime remains flat in 2023 fueled by successful operations; Applications and hiring up

Charlotte, N.C. – (Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024) – Today, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) released its 2023 end-of-year annual report showing continued strides in combating violent crime and highlighting multiple successful operations targeted toward overall crime while increasing applications and hiring.

After two consecutive years of violent crime reductions in 2021 and 2022, violent crime stayed flat in 2023.

“Staying flat in violent crime is no small feat in a city as large and as fast-growing as Charlotte,” said Special Investigations Bureau Major Michael Ford. “It takes a holistic approach. We are strategic about placing our officers in the most critical areas of the city to increase visibility and proactively deter violent crimes.”

Homicides in Charlotte fell 11% in 2023, while the Homicide Unit continued to maintain a solve rate of 80% over five years, one of the highest solve rates in the nation. CMPD’s Cold Case Unit also made national news solving several decades-old cold cases in 2023 through the field of forensic genetic genealogy. One of those cases involved identifying the remains of a previously unidentified World War II veteran from the Charlotte area.

Property crime, meanwhile, rose 17%, largely attributed to auto thefts and larcenies from auto, which are crimes mostly committed by juveniles. CMPD handled more than 1 million 9-1-1 calls for service, a 6% increase, and made more than 15,000 arrests, a 12% increase. Officers also seized more than 3,400 firearms as evidence in 2023, a 10% increase.

In April of 2023, CMPD launched a multi-agency task force named Operation SCARLET (Stolen Car & Recovery Law Enforcement Team) to investigate a large network of crime centered around the theft of high-end vehicles. SCARLET recovered 180 stolen cars across the southeast, valued at more than $11 million. Detectives also seized 111 guns (11 stolen), made 85 felony arrests and recovered more than $900,000 worth of narcotics through investigations.

CMPD’s Central Division saw successes in 2023 with Operation Heartbeat. The operation was aimed at reducing violent crime in Uptown around the Transit Center, the Spectrum Center and parking garages. Operation Heartbeat reported a 36% decrease in violent crimes in those areas including a 43% reduction in robberies.

One of the biggest challenges CMPD faced in 2023 was the rise in juvenile crime.

Shootings involving a juvenile suspect increased by 33% while shootings involving a juvenile victim increased by 18%. The top three juvenile offenders in Charlotte committed more than 120 offenses combined in 2023 alone, a trend that Northwest Patrol Major Ryan Butler addressed during the media briefing on Jan. 11.

“Secure custody orders for juveniles remain difficult to obtain as juvenile crime continues to rise,” said Major Ryan Butler. “This is an issue that is impacting the entire city and state of North Carolina.” “We’re going to continue to see our Charlotte residents preyed upon by juveniles who do not fear repercussions for their actions. Our officers are constantly playing catch and release with the same groups of young people. This is what the CMPD and the public are up against.”

Juvenile property crime suspects were up 86% in 2023. The rise in property crime was fueled by a 120% increase in auto thefts. There were more than 8,000 vehicles reported stolen in Charlotte in 2023, which equates to 22 vehicle thefts per day. Officers made more than 1,200 auto theft arrests (up 98%), with juveniles accounting for more than two-thirds of those arrests (68%). Kia and Hyundai vehicles accounted for 67% of all auto thefts, tracing back to a viral social media trend that influenced young people to steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles at a much higher rate. In the spring of 2022, CMPD hosted giveaways of steering wheel club anti-theft devices, handing out approximately 1,500 clubs to help citizens protect themselves from auto theft.

CMPD’s Community Engagement Division offered 13 programs aimed at providing healthy outlets and mentorship for teens and young adults. This includes CMPD’s Youth Diversion Program for ages 8-17, diverting first-time offenders from the criminal justice system and toward rehabilitation courses. In 2023, CMPD had 444 participants in the Youth Diversion Program, and 95% did not re-offend.

This past year, amid rising overdose rates, CMPD’s Public Affairs Division launched an anti-fentanyl awareness campaign to increase education and connect with younger audiences. The campaign referenced popular slang terms to stand out and target its message to young people and families. Following the campaign’s launch, overall overdose fatalities in Charlotte fell by 33% in the fourth quarter. You can find a full list of campaign materials HERE.

CMPD also announced that recruitment efforts continued trending in a positive direction. Sworn law enforcement applications and hires were up in 2023, with applications rising 31% and hires up 26%. CMPD continues to hire a qualified and diverse work force, increasing incentives to draw candidates from around the country.

Finally, Chief Jennings announced his four strategic priorities for CMPD moving into 2024. These include: 

  1. Continue violent crime reduction efforts.
  2. Reduce automobile property crime.
  3. Recruitment and retention to increase applicant pool, hiring and enhancing the workforce.
  4. Continue customer experience training as we focus on growing minds together and practicing consistency.

“I am proud of the hard work that all of our CMPD employees achieved in 2023, and I appreciate their service to the City of Charlotte,” said CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings. “There is a lot of work to be done, but I am optimistic as we move into 2024. Charlotte is one of the best cities in the country, and we will continue our efforts to ensure the safety of both our residents and visitors.”

The following statistical breakdown below provides an overall snapshot of crime in 2023 compared to 2022:

  • Violent crimes: 7,221 offenses in 2023 compared to 7,213 offenses in 2022.
  • Homicides: 95 in 2023 compared to 107 in 2022.
  • Aggravated assaults: 5,546 in 2023 compared to 5,368 in 2022.
  • Rapes: 244 in 2023 compared to 286 in 2022.
  • Armed robberies: 1,335 in 2023 compared to 1,452 in 2022.
  • Property crimes: 38,187 offenses in 2023 compared to 32,757 in 2022.
  • Residential burglaries: 1,965 in 2023 compared to 2,013 in 2022.
  • Commercial burglaries: 2,365 in 2023 compared to 2,118 in 2022.
  • Larcenies from automobiles: 11,323 in 2023 compared to 10,444 in 2022.
  • Vehicle thefts: 8,032 in 2023 compared to 3,648 in 2022.
  • Arsons: 148 in 2023 compared to 148 in 2022.

To review the full press conference:

For access to the full end-of-year report, please click HERE.(PDF, 12MB)

For access to the graphics and data shared during the press conference, please click HERE.


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