DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) – The Danville Police Department released the results of their Safe Streets operation on Tuesday.
From May 2 through July 25 of this year, the department made 97 felony arrests, seized 21 guns, and confiscated more than $49,000 worth of drugs, including cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine.
The department credits the operation with a drop in burglaries, aggravated assaults, and robberies compared to 2018.
Burglary dropped 26 percent, total aggravated assault dropped 53 percent, aggravated assault with a gun dropped 65 percent, and robberies dropped 75 percent.
Homicides stayed even, at six.
Officials say a lot of that drop has to do with Operation Safe Streets Southside, a crime-fighting initiative they conducted this summer with county and state law enforcement agencies.
“We would not walk downtown on a Friday night or Saturday night 10, 12 years ago, and now, it’s the hub for activity,” said Hampton Wilkins, a third-generation Danville resident.
Police say that’s due to technological advances and modern policing tactics.
“We have to be using good data every day that we go out policing,” said Danville Police Chief Scott Booth. “The random patrols, random stops, that’s policing from a bygone era. We have to be smart with the community.”
Police say they have a scoring system based on reports, interviews, past criminal activity, and more and compile a list of people to target.
“We work off that list,” said Lt. David Whitley, “these violent offenders that we know are out here making this city unsafe for the people who live, work, and play here. That’s who we’re going to target.”
Danville police would not give any specific neighborhoods where the operation took place and stressed the focus was on individuals, not locations.
Below is a map of crime reports from the time period of the operation, available on Danville’s website. It shows activity throughout the city, especially in neighborhoods along the river.
“The general feeling of the public is things are better,” said Wilkins. “There’s a stronger police presence on the streets. There’s more community involvement.”
Police say they hope to conduct a similar operation every year if staffing allows it, but there are no concrete plans in place yet for next year.