Major crime in Richmond down 4% - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Major crime in Richmond down 4%

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Crime is down in the City of Richmond for 2013, according to Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic.

In the bigger crime categories of major crime, violent crime and property crime, the numbers have decreased by 4 percent when compared to 2012.

There were 37 homicides in 2013. While that's down from 44 the year before, it's still up from the all-time low in 2008. Business robberies, burglaries and larcenies are also down this past year, along with rapes and aggravated assaults. The numbers vary depending on where you are in Richmond.

"The only time we would have significant satisfaction is if we had an absence of crime," Tarasovic said during a press conference Thursday morning.

There are a few crime categories that did see increases. Robberies of people went up, but only two percent. Pick-pocketing and purse-snatching also went up. Tarasovic says public awareness will help combat those trends.

John Ellis has lived in the city for as long as he can remember. He even started a neighborhood watch group on the south side. He puts the feelings of people he knows, bluntly.

"They're scared," Ellis said. "You can't afford to eat when they cut your food stamps back. You can't get a job. Unemployment is cut back. It's making it harder on my neighborhood."

He says that has consequences there.

"Break-ins, do what they have to feed their kids," Ellis explained of the incidents he's seen.

But he doesn't blame the police.

"They can't be everywhere," Ellis added.

This coming year, RPD will be able to use technology to strategically place officers.

"We're going to try to be more quickly reactive this year," Chief Tarasovic explained.

A new program will identify hot spots of crime.

The technology won't just be on computers in the precincts and headquarters, but in cruisers equipped with computers.

"If you think of your weather map where you have the intense red and then it goes out to the light green, it's kind of along that theory," Renee Tate of Richmond Police said. "It puts the police officers where they need to be where the crime is occurring, so it's faster response."

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