CMPD Homicide Solve Rate Higher Than National and State Solve Rates, Some Families Still Waiting for Justice

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has a higher homicide clearance rate than national and statewide rates, according to data obtained from the FBI and CMPD.

CBS News’ Investigative Unit and CBS Innovation Lab recently collaborated on a project that explored America’s declining homicide arrest rate. The project is called Crime Without Punishment. According to CBS News, FBI data shows that the solve rate for homicides across the country hit a low point in 2020. The solve rate was just over 50% in 2020.

The solve rate is calculated by dividing the number of homicide cases solved each year by the number of murders that occurred in the same year. According to CBS News, clearance rate data has not been obtained for some law enforcement agencies and some agencies measure the clearance rate differently.

According to FBI data, the statewide clearance rate for North Carolina was 64% in 2019 and 58% in 2020.

Data obtained from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department shows the agency had an 83% homicide solve rate in 2019, a 74% solve rate in 2020, and a 77% solve rate in 2021.

Detective Rick Smith, the CMPD’s Crime Stoppers coordinator, told WBTV why the department’s clearance rates are higher than national and state clearance rates.

“It is first and foremost the community, their willingness to step forward and provide us with information to help us solve these crimes and we ask them to continue to support us,” Smith explained.

Smith said he also attributes the department’s clearance rates to the hard work of police investigators and the partnerships the agency has with local media.

The detective also spoke about the challenges some investigators may encounter when trying to solve a case.

“If we don’t have any cooperation from the community and we have little information to go on with, it makes it difficult to solve a crime,” Smith said.

While Charlotte’s homicide solve rate is higher than the national rate, Smith would like the number of homicides in the city to be lower. Police have investigated more than 95 homicides in each of the past three years. The detective said he wanted community members to continue to help police make arrests.

“I’m asking the community to make the same phone call you would want someone to make if you or someone close to you is the victim of a crime,” Smith said.

While CMPD detectives have solved the majority of 2019, 2020 and 2021 homicides, some families are still hopeful that an arrest will still be made in their loved one’s case.

Li Y was fatally shot on April 23, 2020. The fatal incident happened just outside the entrance to the Magnolia Terrace apartments near EWT Harris Blvd. in Charlotte. No one has been charged for the murder. Police have previously said they are looking into the possibility that Y was the victim of a carjacking.

Y’s brother spoke to WBTV in an interview on Tuesday. For security reasons, he asked that his name be kept confidential.

“It has become a disaster for all of us and for the family and we just want people to help us and find out who did it,” Y’s brother said.

The young man said he and his family members still held out hope that an arrest would be made in Y’s case.

“We will never lose hope until we get justice for him,” he said.

Anyone with information about an unsolved homicide in Charlotte is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. Tipsters can remain anonymous and they can receive a cash reward if they have information that leads to an arrest. Community members can also submit crime tips through the P3 Tips app.

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Mark M. Gagnon