Crime is on the decline in the city of Danville. That’s according to Danville Police Department Chief of Police Scott Booth. he announced Thursday that changes put in place at the beginning of he year have helped make the city safer.
“There’s too much violent stuff going on in the streets,” says James Taylor, who grew up in Danville. “It wasn’t as bad back then as it was now,” he says.
Taylor, 22, says he’s noticed an increase in crime in recent years compared to when he was younger.
Taylor has he’s lost two friends to gang-related gun violence in recent years.
“It’s shown me not to play with guns and not to trust anyone,” says Taylor.
Chief of Police Booth says things are getting better. Crime is trending downward.
“Our homicides in 2019. Two too many,” Booth says, “but we’ve had two and both of them have been cleared by arrest.”
At a news conference held Thursday morning, Booth said crime in the first five months of this year is down when compared to the first five months of 2017 and 2018. He credits several factors.
“A healthy police department that is focused and engaged in reducing crime and engaging the community can do great things,” says Booth.
Another factor-the permanent creation of a violent crime and gang unit.
“It’s not just targeting them for arrest, but targeting them to change their life, notify their families, get them the help or services they need,” says Danville Police Captain Richardson.
Those are changes that Taylor is also seeing.
“People that was actually involved in gang activities are starting to do activities after school at [George Washington High School],” says Taylor.
Chief Booth acknowledges efforts to tackle crime are a work in progress, but says his officers are keeping an open mind and trying new tactics, so that Danville residents will feel safer on the city’s streets.
Booth also says the department is working with Radford University to implement a new plan based on stratified policing.