Richmond murder rate sits at historic low

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – There's a new take tonight on the most violent crime in the city. Richmond's murder rate is on track to be the lowest in 50 years.

There have been 18 killings in the city this year...down 38% from this time last year. This trend is city wide. And here's a stat for you, when you add in the total populations figures - you get the lowest per capita killings in Richmond since John F. Kennedy was president.

Fewer gun shots in the night, followed by flashing blue. Anthony Courtney lives in the city's east end, and remembers when that wasn't always the case.

"When I first came back over to this side of town, no it was almost like a warzone," he said.

There have been 3 murders in the east end this year, compared to 10 at this time last year. Courtney credits police.

"I will say I have to give them their props. I feel a lot more comfortable now then I did when I first came over here," Anthony said.

"When all the killing was going on you'd be scared to step out your door broad day light. You know, but it's not like that anymore and I'm glad that it's not," said local resident Karen Spellman.

City wide 18 lives have ended in violence; a significant drop from this time last year.

"It's stunning, it's amazing," said John Murden.

Local blogger John Murden writes the Church Hill People's News.

"People complain about whatever crime there is and it's nice to have perspective on what things used to be like," he said.

He and a reader added up the population totals and compared them to the actual number of murders. If this trend holds, Richmond's on pace for a 50 year low. A number not everyone likes to talk about.

RACHEL: "So people are superstitious with these numbers?"
JOHN: "They are. They're like don't talk about it. But it's good to talk about it too because people don't really think about it until you point it out."

In the past, Chief Norwood has told me he's not fond of numbers like this; it's not a way he wants to measure success. But has said if there's a number he focuses on, it's the murder clearance rate, or how many of these terrible crimes the department has solved.

We did try to talk to Richmond Police today, but the department says it doesn't want to go on record about the murder statistics until the end of the year.

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