RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The 2009 crime report is out, and for the first time in several years the city of Richmond had an increase in certain crimes.
In one year murders, arson, robberies and larceny jumped up for a grand total of a 4% spike in violent crime. Every other crime: burglaries, rape and assaults - decreased.
"If you look at the numbers, we're talking about a very slight percentage and I think again the real story is that based upon the economy, based upon the circumstances within the community, I think we towed the line," said Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood.
Norwood credits initiatives like: alternative patrols, major DUI enforcement and programs geared towards children and teens.
"One of the things I think we can do better this year is really again, continue to garner the trust of the community and invoke their support," said Norwood.
Police have the support of resident Sarah Tolson.
"I feel pretty safe overall," she said.
Even after her car was broken into.
"Nothing was taken, but everything was strewn about my car. So obviously somebody was looking for money," said Sarah.
Sarah buys into the chief's reasoning for the crime spike: the economy is to blame, so does Edward Robinson. He thinks police are doing a fine job.
"They ride around, they stop, we talk," he said.
Police say historically, when comparing numbers, even with the 4% spike. The 2009 crime statistics are some of the lowest Richmond has ever seen.
"So I think the real story is we've done really well, not that there's this huge trend up," Norwood said.
Right now officers are assigned to alternative patrols on motorcycles, bike and on foot. The police chief says expect another alternative to begin this year.