HENRICO CRIME MEETING - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Henrico police chief targets "hot spot" crime areas

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

Henrico's police chief delivered a crime rundown for the county, Tuesday night. Chief Douglas Middleton reports Henrico's crime rate for 2013 was at its lowest ever, per thousand residents. However, Middleton says there are still hot spots, or areas to buckle down on.

The Henrico police chief emphasized that numbers don't always paint an entire picture, positively or negatively.

"Sometimes a number going up in any particular crime might be representative of the fact that we are doing a better job of policing it. If you took prostitution by itself (in Henrico), you would see that," commented Middleton on Henrico's crackdown on prostitution.

Overall, crime in Henrico dropped last year. The total number of violent crimes and arrests throughout the county was down.

However, Varina and Tuckahoe districts did show an uptick. Middleton says Tuckahoe's boundaries were widened, meaning more area is factored into crime stats. However, Varina simply remains an area police must hone in on.

"(Officers) are definitely more focused on the violent crimes in Fairfield and Varina, because that is where the majority of them occur," continued Middleton.

The newly built  police station in the Virginia Center Commons mall is allowing Varina officers to focus solely on their district, not having to divert resources in the Fairfield area.

"With the central station open, the south station focuses primarily on Varina," explained Tyrone Nelson, the Henrico Board of Supervisors representative for the Varina district.

Middleton says results are already showing. Since January, crime is down 37 percent in Varina, compared to this time last year.

Plans to add dozens more officers, new on-the-go technology, and even more police stations, are also in the works.

"We're now able to focus more energy and attention with the west and the eastern portions of the county," reiterated Middleton.

Another big factor in reducing Henrico crime has been a partnership with Richmond city officers in patrolling the Richmond city-Henrico county border. Plans to do the same with Hanover are also underway.

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