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City crime trends downward in Richmond

11/6/2013, 11:31 a.m.
[RPD] is a very focused department, said Major Scott Booth. “We try to go with what works. We try to ...

By Sylvina Poole

Crime is decreasing in the city compared to last year’s trends, according to the Richmond Police Department (RPD).

[RPD] is a very focused department, said Major Scott Booth. “We try to go with what works. We try to put police officers focused in the right areas and focused on the right people. We don’t believe in ‘we’re going to stop everybody’ like they do in New York based on principalities or anything like that.

“We want to do smart, evidence-based policing. We want to be in the areas where the crime is happening and we want to, hopefully, be able to focus on those possible offenders. So, I think we do a pretty good job at that.”

“I do think that we are very analytical we do most of what we do based on crime mapping and crime trends. So if we have a series of robberies or having other violent crime in certain specific neighborhoods, that’s where we try to put our police officers. And I think that nationwide your better agencies that have crime decreases that’s what works for them and that’s what works for us.”

RPD noted that it has experienced some successes over the last few years which could account for the reduction in crime. There is a 7 percent reduction in violent crime in the city and a 3 percent reduction in property crime even with the 2013 close to an end.

“We have made some really good strides in violent crime since going i,nto the summer. We were fighting some heavy trends and we have made some strides in that. A 24 percent decrease in violent crime year to date. Compared to this time in 2012 where there were 38 people were killed and right now as of [last] Monday we had 29 people who were murdered,” said Booth.

RPD is however, concerned about individual robberies and have made this a priority. And that is something that can occur anywhere in the city. There is no specific neighborhood or precinct or sector that are above the crime of robbery. Sometimes it’s more prevalent in some places than others, said Booth.

Some residents may have a negative outlook about theft-related crimes and that it is more concentrated in certain parts of the city, particularly the SouthSside.

“Robberies in South Richmond is always a challenge. A lot of what we fight and talk about is perception. If there is a series of robberies in any particular area whether it’s the VCU area or the Fan or South Richmond and it hits the news and certainly it can be like ‘perception is that robberies are on the rise’ in the city of Richmond or South Side or Randolph where statistically speaking it could actually be on the decrease,” said Booth.

“Something important in our business is we do fight perception. South Richmond is a challenge when it comes to robberies especially in our neighborhoods which have a large Latino and Hispanic population. That’s something that we have struggled with for years just to make sure that we can get out there and take care of those folks whether it’s because of the language barrier we just want to make sure that we are providing services equally across the board to all our residents,” he said.

Like Booth, 5th District Councilman Parker Agelasto, who represent parts of South Richmond, feels that some areas of the city have received a bad rap in how the general public views these areas.

Agelasto said he doesn’t believe that South Richmond is an area where most crimes happen.

“In fact, a look at the police statistics would tell a different story. Likewise, Sector 211, including the area of Midlothian Village had the highest reduction in crime in the second quarter of this year.”

South Side 8th District Councilwoman Reva Trammell praises RPD for its efforts in stamping out crime in her district. “I think the police officers and the community are doing a great job!

“I think we are still working together and we will continue to do community policing because this is what [former] Chief [Brian] Norwood would want us to do.”