RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The neighborhood on Randolph Street looks like any other but it's what you don't see that makes it the most different. Illegal activity here is not only decreasing, but police have found it rivals other areas in metro Richmond.
"As far as violent crimes, it's a minimum," said Lt. Michael Stith with the Richmond Police Department. "This is probably one of the safest places in the city to be honest with you."
Lieutenant Stith is talking about areas like The Fan, The Museum District, Carytown, Westwood and the neighborhood surrounding the Police Department's Third Precinct on Meadow Street. Residents we spoke with agree.
"It's safe," said resident, Andre Williams. "I don't see nothing going on around here. Ain't nothing bad going on. The kids--you see all the kids out here. They'll tell you it's safe."
"No illegal activity," said another resident. "It may be a few children standing on the corner and everything but other than that no gunshots no police sirens zooming around in the neighborhood."
While it sounds and looks safe, we took a look at some of the recent crime statistics for the area to see for ourselves and the numbers showed the proof. In June of 2009, there was just 1 business robbery reported in the area. In June of this year there haven't been any. That's down 100 percent. Last June there were just 4 reported residential and individual robberies. This June again there was none therefore that's also down 100 percent. And the total violent crimes reported for last June is at 6 while this June there were only 4 bringing violent crime totals down 33 percent for that month. Police and prosecutors explain how they believe this was made possible.
"A lot of it is that certain parts of this sector are wealthy but others are not," said prosecutor, Julie McConnell. "They're not wealthy at all but they take care of their neighborhoods and they stay involved and that makes a huge difference."
"All the citizens they really get involved," said Lt. Stith. "They pay attention. The neighborhood assistance groups are pretty active."
They're so active that even Tammara Hamiel, who's only lived in this neighborhood for about a year, finds herself attending meetings to participate in fighting neighborhood crime.
"It's keeping me up on the community and what's going on," said Hamiel. "They meet over here at the church so we're aware of any new things that the police have put in place for us in regards to whether we need to call them and when we need to call them."
Neighborhood Watch Groups in this area continue to work with police to keep crime rates in this community low.