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Attacking The Crime Myth Surrounding The CIAA Tournament Parties

The CIAA Tournament brings the party crowd to Charlotte. (Charlotte Magazine Photo)

The CIAA Tournament may have wrapped up on Saturday night, but in Charlotte, it’s still a hot topic. The tournament just completed it’s ninth year in the Queen City, and though it brings in millions of cash every year, some in the area treat it as more of a pariah than a plus.

Many opponents of the tournament view it with disdain, and as a magnet for crime. Local TV station WBTV received several comments on its website suggesting that the events surrounding the tournament were habitually violent.

Someone wrote “more shootings more long lines.”
Another comment said “should call it a thug life tournament.”
One woman said “ticket sales are low, attendance is low, but security and safety issues are up.”
A view wrote “it seems like when I hear about the CIAA Tournament in the news, it isn’t because of the great games, it’s because of some type of violence.”
Another person said “speed street doesn’t bring in violence.” 

WBTV investigated these claims, researching arrest stats from CIAA and NASCAR’s Speed Street events. It found that the events during the CIAA tournament were no more violent than Speed Street.

Twenty-one people were arrested in the downtown area during CIAA, compared to 29 at Speed Street in 2013. Other years show similar numbers. Only 12 people were arrested during that period last week.

Actually living in Charlotte has given me a lot of perspective on how people from the outside view the CIAA Tournament. Some folks really buy into the perception that it is violent and were hoping that the tournament would go elsewhere, even though it brings nearly $30 million directly to the City and has an almost $50 million impact on the city.

This report won’t likely change many people’s perception of the events surrounding the tournament, or the people who attend them, but it’s good to see some in-depth reporting on the situation.

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