Some residents in Henrico are fighting back after criminals overran their neighborhood, but robberies and larcenies remain one of their biggest concerns.
"We were having trouble with drugs, break-ins, people being threatened walking at night," said Elon "Buddy" Moyer. He is the crime watch leader for the Springdale neighborhood in Fairfield.
Of the violent crimes - which include rape, murder, robberies and aggravated assaults - Henrico Police say robberies outpace the rest with 230 last year.
Tuckahoe had the lowest, with just 14. Three Chopt had 19. It starts to increase dramatically as you head east.
Brookland had 45 - it's the only district that actually saw robbery numbers go up. Varina had 65. Fairfield had the highest at 87.
Community officer Jermaine Alley patrols that area. He says concerns about robberies are one of the hottest topics when he talks to people living in his patrol area.
Police say Mechanicsville Turnpike and the surrounding area is a hot spot for robbers, many of the crimes happening at night.
In Moyer's neighborhood, they're seeing a decrease in crime, but an increase in calls for suspicious situations. Police say that's not necessarily a bad thing. The reason: more calls mean more officers on patrol.
Moyer says doing nothing is not an option, and criminals need to hear the voice of the community: "Stay out of our neighborhood, go somewhere else!"
Tough talk isn't enough though, says Moyer, so he took action - including developing a relationship with Officer Alley. Getting the rest of the neighborhood on board wasn't easy, at first.
"There were a few hurdles," he said. "We had folks who didn't accept the police."
Now, things have changed. There are at least 300 members that belong to Springdale's Neighborhood Crime Watch program. According to Moyer, crime has gone down dramatically.
"I would say it's 75% good now," he said.
Officers say this neighborhood is a great example of how a community can make a big change.
Moyer says it's the little things - like signs - that can make a big change.
"This sign is telling you somebody is watching you all the time, so don't come in our neighborhood, stay out," he said.
Henrico Police say the robbery numbers are the lowest they've been in years.
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