Henrico County's crime rate drops

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The high profile murder of Susanna Cisneros comes at a time when the Henrico Police Department is actually marking a decline in crime.

Lt. Colonel Doug Middleton is about to become the person responsible of security in Henrico County at time when it is as safe as it's ever been. He believes the numbers don't lie.

"It (crime) is the lowest its ever been since 1991," said Middleton, who will become Chief in April.

He's talking about the county's crime rate. It's a statistic generated by the number of crimes committed, in relation to Henrico's population.

Over the past 20 years, Henrico has grown big time. The county has added nearly 100,000 people and countless businesses and shopping centers. What hasn't grown with the county, is crime.

"Even though Henrico County has become a more urban county, with lot of development growth and population increase," said Middleton, "We also have been able to do a fairly effective job of managing and controlling crime in the county."

In fact it's dropped quite a bit.

In 1991 officers responded to a little more than 48 crimes per 1 thousand residents. At the time there were, nearly 225,000 people living in the county.

Last year that number fell to just shy of 27 crimes per 1 thousand, even though more than 300,000 people call Henrico home.

It is a statistic Middleton gives the department he is about to take over, credit for.

"A strong emphasis on community policing and how it can have a positive effect on fighting crime and a lot of the ways we've how we do business in the division,' he said.

A trend he hopes to continue.

And these statistics include everything from murder all the way down to simple larceny. But every single category has gone down. For instance in 2003 Henrico had 24 murders in the county. Last year there were 13.

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