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Danville, VA Local Government News and Announcements

Posted on: December 6, 2016

[ARCHIVED] City outlines strategies to reduce violent crime

Municipal Building photo

City Manager Ken Larking and Police Chief Philip Broadfoot presented to City Council on Tuesday a working draft of a plan that consists of nearly 30 short-term and long-term strategies to reduce violent crime in Danville.

The short-term strategies include, for example, establishing a gang task force, increasing funding to support the Police Department’s informant fund to compensate adequately individuals who wish to share critical violent crime information, and expanding beyond the Green Street precinct to develop a fixed presence in at least two at-risk neighborhoods.

The long-term strategies include, for example, community wealth-building efforts to reduce poverty, developing community-based programs to bring structured activities to children in their neighborhoods, and continued property blight eradication.

“Many of these strategies will produce immediate results, but some may require several years before we see results,” Larking said. “I commend City Council for recognizing that we need to focus on both the immediate and long-term issues if we are truly going to transform this community.”

Larking and Broadfoot made their presentation at a special work session held by City Council. The strategies outlined were in a working draft. A final draft will be developed with additional input from City Council.

The city has experienced a record 14 homicides this year. In 2014, the city had a record low of three homicides.

“We went from a record low to a record high in two years,” Broadfoot said. “The question that has to be asked is ‘why,’” Broadfoot said. “Murders come in cycles. We believe these cycles are generational. Sometimes you have a generation that is more prone to violent crime. …. The cycle that we are in now is being driven by younger offenders with gang affiliations, using social media, and with easy access to firearms.”

Broadfoot also said, “Most of our violent crime takes place between people who knew each other. An aggravated assault takes place between neighbors and family members. Most of the murders, if not all of them, take place between people who knew each other. A good number of robberies take place place between people who know each other. That creates an atmosphere for violent crime.”

Reducing violent crime was one of three focus areas that City Council established during a retreat held in late October. The other areas were education and grow Danville.

“City Council engaged in healthy debate in each of these areas,” Larking said following the retreat. “They want to see a turnaround. They want violent crime to decrease. They want to strengthen working relationships with the school system leaders to improve education, and they want us to grow Danville.”

Since the retreat, Larking has been meeting with department heads and staff to develop short-term and long-term strategies in each of the areas.

Draft - Strategies to reduce violent crime....
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