RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's almost unheard of: one Richmond neighborhood saw a 50% decline in crime. Now police are crediting the Davee Gardens community for the impressive trend. They've been working together in the south side neighborhood off Ruffin Road.
In the days of a tough economy, significant decreases in crime are hard to come by and it took some work in Davee Gardens, according to Sector Lt. Tommy Lloyd.
"We tackled it and we kind of came in here and gave a whole lot more visible appearance," he said.
They added patrols to deal with drug issues, burglaries, robberies and thefts from sheds.
There's only one way in and one way out of the neighborhood, which added another challenge because it leads to Ruffin Road. The street is a main cut through for Interstate 95 and Jeff Davis Highway.
"You have all kinds of criminal elements that go up and down Jeff Davis and it's an easy turn in here," Lt. Lloyd explained. "They see us here; they're not going to be here as much."
It's been successful. We've learned violent and property crimes are down. In the first three months of last year, Davee Gardens saw five burglaries. This year, there were only three. Larcenies are down even more. There were four reported in January through March of last year and only one so far in 2012.
Neighbors and police discuss those incidents at meetings and walk-throughs, like the one our cameras captured Monday.
"Police can't see everything and they don't live in our neighborhood," resident Dorothy Thornton told us. "So if we tell them what we see and they piggyback on what we say, get the job done and that's it."
Police Chief Bryan Norwood said the theory translates throughout the city.
"What Davee Gardens may need in terms of resources may not be needed in a community north side," he maintained. "It may be different. So we try to tailor it to each community so it works perfectly."