Residents will see more Richmond Police officers out of their cruisers and walking the streets of the city. The police department has started new walking patrols in Jackson Ward, North Church Hill and Fairfield Court.
An officer on his boots is more accessible when compared to one in his cruiser. You can easily stop him to register a complaint, tell him about a crime or simply get to know your beat cop. That's the theory Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood is going on when instituting these patrols.
"Highly visible police officers engaging with the community, solving some problems at a very grassroots level and making sure that people are safe in the late evening hours," he described.
Police looked at these tactics as another weapon in their arsenal. They had to examine that arsenal to figure out what works best, where.
For example, if cops were to walk a street like Jeff Davis Highway, they'd only hit a handful of people in several blocks. The area is less populated and industrial. But, in a more residential neighborhood, officers get more bang for their buck on their feet. They could talk to a couple dozen people by just walking a few blocks.
Police also consider crime trends and resident complaints.
"The big issue for us in the east end is to really establish a footprint in the community for the officers to be well known and to have the cooperation of the community members," Chief Norwood said.
Despite the many other initiatives RPD is undertaking after a violent September and robberies near VCU, Norwood maintains these new patrols won't tax the department.
"You know that's my job to make sure that we have the resources available, make sure we're using them properly and I think we're doing a good job at that," he added.
Like those VCU patrols, these walking beats will go out in the evening and nighttime hours.
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