A Charlotte Observer investigation delves into the problems of "crime and punishment in Mecklenburg County and North Carolina." The five-part series in March reveals that "criminals in Charlotte are getting away with robbery, rape., assault, and occasionally even murder." The analysis finds that "driven largely by a corps of repeat offenders, Mecklenburg's crime rate ... remains ... the state's highest," with "homicides and car theft on the rise." Amongst the key findings is that "if you commit a violent crime in Charlotte, you're only half as likely to go to prison as criminals across the rest of the state." A comparison with the practice of other cities shows that "nationally, many urban prosecutors imprison a larger state of suspects." The series also reveals that "poorest neighborhoods are among those with lowest punishment rates" and that "criminals who escape punishment often go on to victimize others." The investigation sheds light on staff shortages at the courts and prosecutors' offices, and "a funding squeeze [that] compromises judges." It also details the offenders' tactics to avoid punishment and the prosecutors' ways to counteract them.