Last year, more than 100 lives were lost to violence on Charlotte streets -- from children, to grandparents, and brothers and sisters -- all leaving grieving families behind.
With each life taken too soon, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department worked to bring those loved ones justice. While violent crime in Charlotte is happening less often, CMPD said overall, crime numbers went up last year.
On Thursday, Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz learned the department investigated more homicides in 2022 than the year before. He spoke with a mother who lost her son, who said he was more than just a number.
“It has been very hard, very difficult,” Donna Spencer said.
CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said violent crime is down in Charlotte by about 5%, but homicides continue to be a problem in a city where so many are still grieving.
Five months ago, Armani Spencer was killed. Police said he was gunned down in a car outside Northlake Mall.
Time has slowly gone by, but it hasn’t healed the heartbreak his mom still bears.
“The pain, it’s just not going to go away,” she said.
Her son was one of 110 people killed in Charlotte in 2022 -- a 10% increase in homicides from 2021.
But she doesn’t want you to get lost in the numbers. To her and to so many others, that statistic is a loved one taken -- gone forever.
“I wouldn’t want this on nobody’s doorstep,” Spencer told Sáenz.
Jennings agreed and said every time he gets the call that someone’s been killed, it’s concerning.
“The number is staggering when you look at the amount of homicides,” he said. “However, the only acceptable number for homicides is zero.”
His officers are dealing with increases in other types of crime too, like commercial burglaries, vehicle thefts, and property crimes -- all up significantly last year. But crimes like rapes, aggravated assaults, and residential burglaries are down.
CMPD is busy to say the least. Chief Jennings said his detectives have made arrests in 75% of the city’s homicides. But Spencer is still waiting.
“What I’m looking for is that phone call to say that they’ve made an arrest for our son,” she said.
The mother is seeking justice as CMPD does what it can to curb the violence.
The department has made strides in preventing gun violence. Last year, officers took more than 3,100 guns off the streets. They also made more than 14,000 arrests in all of 2022.
Jennings also mentioned Thursday that the city’s violence interrupters program is working and he supports it being expanded.
“It’s refreshing to me as the police chief to know that we are partnering with the county and the city government, and also to make sure that we bring the resources to these communities so that we can stop that cyclical criminal activity that we’ve seen in these communities,” he said. “So I think it’s very helpful. I know there’s some thoughts and ideas about expanding it and I look forward to that, and continuing that partnership.”
CLICK HERE for the full 2022 crime report from CMPD.
(WATCH RELATED: New plan presented to Meck County leaders in effort to reduce violent crime)