Starting Wednesday evening, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will be deploying three officers on foot patrol in the entertainment districts of Plaza Midwood and NoDa in a bid to reduce crime in the booming areas.
Lt. Luke Sell said the department has wanted to do this for a long time, and only recently had the resources to redeploy officers to this area. They will be especially effective, he said, during weekend nights when traffic makes it difficult for police to respond by car. These officers will be able to quickly address crimes like robberies, drunk and disorderly conduct, and car break-ins.
The foot patrol officers will be on the street Wednesday through Sunday, from about 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Blake Barnes, owner of the Common Market, said he’s long paid for off-duty police officers starting at 11 p.m.
“It never fails that something weird would happen at 6:30,” he said.
David Hale, vice president of the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association, said he welcomes the foot patrols because the fast-growing and changing community has led to a “higher risk that things could go wrong.”
But the foot patrols are not without criticism. Some activists quickly responded to the news by questioning why gentrifying areas are getting a softer touch from police.
One man who stumbled across the CMPD press conference chuckled when he heard what was going on. “Foot patrols in Plaza Midwood?” he said. “They’re really needed three streets over.”