Violent crime is down in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, but the overall crime rate for the past few months is up by 11%. That increase was led by property crimes, mostly car thefts, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The department released its crime data for the first half of 2023 Wednesday. Violent crime is down 8% so far for the year. Taking auto thefts out of the equation, the crime rate went down by almost half a percent, police said. 

What You Need To Know

  •  The crime rate in Charlotte is up by 11% so far this year, compared to the first six months of 2022, police say

  •  Car thefts have been responsible for much of the increase, according to CMPD

  •  Almost three-quarters of car theft arrests were juveniles under 18 years old, CMPD data shows

  • Violent crime is down in the city, with a drop of 8% compared to this time last year, police say

“There has been a 143% increase in auto thefts this year alone,” Maj. Jonathan Thomas said during a news conference Wednesday morning. “This is the largest increase in this category we have ever seen.”

He said 3,717 people have reported their cars stolen in the first six months of the year. People have been arrested multiple times for car thefts, Thomas said. And many of the suspects have been juveniles.

“The main driver of overall crime continues to be the same, and that is auto theft. The Hyundai and Kia thefts should come as no surprise to anyone,” said Lt. Kevin Pietrus. 

Police say a genre of videos on TikTok and other social media sites have fueled the Hyundai and Kia thefts, showing viewers how to steal the cars and encouraging people to post their own videos. 

“This year there’s been a staggering 93% increase in juvenile involvement in property crimes,” said Dep. Chief Steven Broschu. Part of that increase has to do with a 2019 law that changed the age to charge someone as an adult from 16 to 18. Many of those crimes involve stolen cars, police said. 

Almost three-quarters of the people arrested in auto thefts have been juveniles, according to CMPD. 

“CMPD has recorded 520 arrests in auto thefts, up 91% in 2023,” police said. “Of those arrests, 373 were juveniles.”

The department said some of those arrested were as young as 12 years old. Some of the stolen cars have also been linked to other crimes like shootings and robberies.

Violent crime

The rise in crime in Charlotte has been led by property crimes, like stolen cars and burglaries. But violent crime is down 8%, according to the CMPD.

“We’re showing a decrease for every category, starting with homicides,” Broschu said. 

There were 45 homicides in Charlotte in the first six months of the year. That’s down from 53 for the same time period last year. The numbers for robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults are also down for 2023.

“We’ve taken 1,784 guns off the street,” Broschu said. That’s up 8% from 2022, he said. 

Here’s how the first six months of this year compare to 2022:

  • Violent crimes: 3,406 offenses in 2023 compared to 3,689 offenses in 2022
  • Homicides: 45 in 2023 compared to 53 in 2022
  • Rapes: 109 in 2023 compared to 147 in 2022
  • Armed robberies: 631 in 2023 compared to 733 in 2022
  • Property crimes: 17,873 offenses in 2023 compared to 15,475 in 2022
  • Residential burglaries: 934 in 2023 compared to 1,055 in 2022
  • Commercial burglaries: 909 in 2023 compared to 1,068 in 2022
  • Larcenies from automobiles: 5,319 in 2023 compared to 4,807 in 2022
  • Vehicle thefts: 3,717 in 2023 compared to 1,530 in 2022
  • Arsons: 58 in 2023 compared to 77 in 2022