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Charlotte-focused criminal law report: thoughts and considerations

At a recent news conference, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Chief Kerr Putney sketched a portrayal of local crime that some readers might reasonably regard as being a somewhat ambiguous take on the subject.

On the one hand, the region's highest-ranking police official noted several positive aspects of local policing of which he is particularly proud, including increased "citizen contacts," salutary results seen in a youth-offender program and the high-energy work he says his officers routinely do to make the Charlotte area safer.

On the other hand, though, Putney says that crime rates across several categories are creeping up and that, consequently, he needs more resources.

"How many more [officers] is for them to determine," he said in response to a query seeking information on what he would specifically request from the Charlotte City Council.

Property crimes, such as larceny, theft and related offenses, are all spiking upward, Putney notes. Other categories of crime are also showing a marked increase, he says, with the overall crime rate across the urban area being up by about 10 percent from a year ago.

Putney's request for more police officers is certainly a standard and unsurprising response from a police chief, and one that is routinely mirrored in other metropolitan areas across the country.

"[T]he correlation can't be disputed," he says, in addressing an alleged tight link between a beefed-up police presence and a dampened crime rate.

That might be true, of course, and there is certainly empirical evidence to support it.

As a corollary, though, there is just as much evidence indicating that increased manpower in police departments results in more challenges from citizens alleging instances of questionable police stops, unlawful searches, flawed evidence gathering, illegal custodial detention, improper charging and additional matters.

We all want our streets safe, of course. Additionally, though, every reasonable person certainly wants criminal authorities to pursue that laudatory aim lawfully and with full regard to every person's lawful rights and interests.

Questions or concerns relating to any aspect of North Carolina criminal law can be directed to a proven Mecklenburg County criminal defense attorney.

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