CMPD says prostitution, violent crime rising along I-85 corridor

by: Mark Becker Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte Mecklenburg police said violent crime has begun to creep back up along a busy corridor in north Charlotte and they believe the reason could be an old, familiar problem.
 
With its cluster of cheap hotels and convenience stores all right off I-85, Sugar Creek Road has become a magnet for Charlotte’s sex trade.
         
“It's a big problem around here. I hate even having to walk to the store or anything by myself,” said a woman who lives nearby but did not want to give her name because she says the prostitution has led to a lot more serious problems.
         
“I've heard about stabbings, shootings. All kinds of stuff.  I'm sure it's related,” she says.
         
Police could not agree more.
         
“If it wasn't for the prostitution element in all of these cases, I don't think we'd be having the violent crime that we are in the North Tryon Division,” says Capt. Rob Dance, who supervises that division of CMPD.
         
So Dance is taking aim at the prostitution problem with a series of undercover operations targeting prostitutes and the men who do business with them.  His division has already finished one of those operations and it's planning to conduct more through the summer months.
         
“This problem isn't going to go away overnight. This is something we're going to have to constantly do and keep people on their toes,” Dance said.
         
And neighbors say they are ready for the police to do something.
 
“It needs to be stopped,” says a woman who lives close to Sugar Creek.  “You have children out here.  It needs to be stopped.”