Increase in crime, police need public's help

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – There has been an increase in crime in one Richmond neighborhood and now police say the public isn't doing enough to help. Major crimes have been on the rise in Brookland Park in the city's north side. The Richmond Police Department told NBC12 it has reached out to neighbors, but to no avail.

Gunshots rang out as we were walking the streets covering Thursday night's Neighborhood Crime Watch. Statistics show a frustrating year for Brookland Park.

Last year's major crimes are up almost 30% compared to the year before. In 2010, the department counted 96 major crimes in the area. In 2011, that number rose to 123. Included in that figure are 16 more residential burglaries.

Sector Lieutenant Brian Corrigan said neighbors aren't coming forward with critical information they've witnessed.

"I knew I had devoted a lot of resources, manpower over in that neighborhood so it was really glaring," he explained.

An outreach campaign for a community meeting that yielded little community involvement was even more frustrating.

"Unfortunately 155 fliers were delivered and only 11 people showed up," Corrigan said.

NBC12 knocked on doors in the area and no one wanted to talk to our cameras. When we asked them if they would have a problem calling police when they see something suspicious we got the same response given to officers: "I just don't want to get involved." The people there said their fear outweighs their desire to pick up the phone.

Corrigan needs people to understand you can help police without making yourself a target.

"You have the ability not to be seen by the police," he said. "You don't have to give your name or your number, anything like that. The police will not come up and knock on your door but we do need you to punch the digits. We need you to call 911."

This area of the city has a lot of targets in foreclosed and for sale homes. So, police want you to keep an eye on those.

And if you think there's something suspicious, call immediately. Officers would rather check it out and be wrong, than miss something.

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