RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Police department has had another successful year of reducing violent crimes. Every summer, police target two major crime influences, fugitives and firearms, and the initiative is paying off.
Over a 45-day period in June and July, officers proactively hit the streets. Compared to last year, overall violent crime went down 14%. Two of the biggest successes include individual robberies, which were down 33% and business robberies down 8%.
During this initiative, an officer walked in a robbery in progress at the Church's Chicken on Mechanicsville Turnpike. The officer arrested the violent sex offender and took his firearm.
"If you look at a firearm and you look at robberies, I think each time you take a firearm off the street, you are successful in probably preventing a robbery and a robbery that has a potential for a shooting, and if you take that a step further, a robbery that leads to a shooting that could lead to a homicide," said Lt. Emmett Williams.
And the numbers prove that theory. Officers seized nearly 30 firearms mostly during traffic stops, and you can see those results in individual robberies. In 2010 there were 88 during this time period. There were 59 this year. That's a difference of 29 and a 33 percent reduction. Police also got their hands on a number of other weapons that could cause trouble.
"We not only seized firearms, but we also we seized a bunch of tasers. We seized a lot of bb guns, one sling shot, and I think we got a cross bow in the mix somewhere," said Lt. Williams.
Officers spent some time in Shockoe Bottom where we've covered a number of violent crimes and large crowds gather on the weekends. Police focused on commercial robberies along the Jeff Davis Corridor and prostitution and drug issues along Midlothian in the Southside.