CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have a new tool at their fingertips to fight violent crime across the city.
Officers have a new database they're launching to identify suspects with dangerous pasts.
“We realized we had over 2,500 candidates in Mecklenburg County alone, some of them that are already labeled as our priority offenders who continue to assault people,” said Lt. Bret Balamucki, with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Officers in the field can now search a suspect's name in this database to determine if they have a history of assaults and should be charged with a felony habitual misdemeanor assault, Balamucki said.
“If you have two or more prior assault convictions within 15 years of the current assault, and you've caused physical injury to someone, or you pointed a gun, you're going to qualify for this felony,” Assistant District Attorney Erik Lindahl said. “Even if those prior assaults happened 14 1/2 years earlier.”
Lindahl calls the new resource a game changer that will lead to more felony charges, especially in domestic violence cases.
“It is an enormous problem, and a sad reality for domestic violence is that it is a recidivism crime,” Lindahl said.
A conviction of habitual misdemeanor assault leads to between four to 12 1/2 months in prison.
Police call the new program another way to take a tough stance on crime, and patrol officers will start using the database in the next few days.
They plan to update the database every quarter.
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