Danville Police on Thursday reported significant declines in violent crime and burglaries during the first five months of this year as compared to the same period the year before.
Multiple factors, Police Chief Scott Booth said, are contributing to the declines.
“When we talk about a decline in crime, we are just one piece of the puzzle,” Booth said during a news conference. “However, I truly believe that a police department that is focused on reducing crime and engaged in the community can do some great things.”
Community support is key, he said.
“We can talk about the strategies we are using, but without the community stepping forward, embracing what we are doing and getting behind us, then none of this would work,” Booth said.
Booth reported the following numbers from Jan. 1 to May 20 of this year as compared to the same period of 2018:
- Robberies – down 73 percent from 33 in 2018 to 9 this year.
- Aggravated assaults involving use of firearms – down 70 percent from 61 in 2018 to 18 this year.
- Aggravated assaults (all weapons) – down 57 percent from 68 to 29.
- Burglaries – down 38 percent from 94 to 58.
- Homicides – down 33 percent from three to two.
Booth detailed several strategies implemented, including department restructuring, additional law enforcement partnerships, use of data-driven policing, and community engagement.
The combination has led to a clearance rate in homicides that is significantly higher than the national average. Of the 11 homicides and one manslaughter cases in 2018, 10 or 83 percent have been cleared by arrest. Both of the homicides this year have been cleared by arrest.
The national average is 61 percent, according to the latest figures available.
Booth said he believes Danville is a safer community today.
“Any loss of life is too much,” Booth said. “I would prefer to have zero homicides and zero crime, but that is something as a community that we continue to work on. We have some challenges, but I feel good about the direction in which we are headed.”
The full news conference is available for viewing on the Facebook page of River City TV.