Police say violent crimes on the decline

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With all the crimes we've been hearing about lately, it may not seem like it, but according to numbers at the police department, violent crimes actually are on the decline. It's a number city leaders would like to see dip even more.

Hundreds of people from the police force and the city came out to hear the mayor and police chief express their gratitude. They thanked the community for its help in reducing the violent crimes that once gave Richmond the title of murder capital of the nation.

"We're here today to say things are really looking up and things have really changed," said Mayor Dwight Jones.

Mayor Jones says crime in general has gone down mostly because neighbors and police are teaming up. The police chief says that has helped to make a safer community.

"I salute each and every one of you," said Chief Norwood.

Even though overall crime rose one percent in the city, violent crime, including: homicides, robberies, and aggravated assaults are down from last year. Property crimes like burglaries are up slightly this year.

Richmond Crime Statistics 

2010                    2011

41 homicides       37 homicides          (-4)

730 robberies      675 robberies         (-55)

1,766 burglaries   1,888 burglaries     (122)

Arson investigations are up drastically-- a 35 percent spike in 2011. Police are expanding their investigation team to help solve those cases. However, when it comes to violent crimes, the mayor says homicides are at their second lowest level since 1970.

He says it's a reason to celebrate, but not a sign to sit back at all - especially with the recent crimes during the holidays.

"Crime and the loss of life is painful to anybody, and when we lose a life it's one life too many," said Mayor Jones.

That's why the mayor and police encourage neighbors to work with police and maintain a presence in their community to reduce crime.

"Everyday, we strive to make Richmond a better place to live and rise to the top," Mayor Jones added.

Last year, Richmond saw 37 homicides. That's a major decrease compared to back in 2005 when we saw 96.

Police also mentioned safety in Shockoe Bottom. They're working on a strategy to put the proper amount of police presence to keep people safe and attract business at the same time.

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