Danville saw 407 fewer violent crimes over the last three years as compared with the previous three-year period. That number is a decrease of 51 percent.
Police Chief Scott Booth credited the decrease to the implementation in 2019 of a new model of crime reduction and accountability.
“You don’t get there by any other way than by focused policing — focusing on violent offenders, on people who are out committing crime and by community support,” said Booth at a news conference held earlier this week.
Booth says the model brought a new mindset to the department, focusing on community engagement, problem-solving and accountability.
From there, a variety of strategies has enabled the department to begin decreasing crime across the board.
Neighborhood-oriented policing has divided the city into parts and focused officers on their assigned part of the city.
Community engagement has furthered that by having police interact with residents to see what can make their quality of life better.
In both 2020 and 2021, the numbers show 100 percent of homicides were cleared by arrest. Police Capt. David Whitley said a good starting point has been community trust.
“We’ve learned over the past few years that developing the trust — the community trusting us — has contributed more to our success because it outweighs the fear that the folks in community have of criminals,” said Whitley said.
Capt. Keith Thompson added, “What we perceive going on sometimes is not actually what is going on. We can get community input and find out what is actually happening in the community to make the quality of life better.”
The city’s clearance rates for cases, or arrests, far exceeded those of the FBI when it came to crimes across the board.
Violent crimes include homicides, rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults.
Homicides increased from five in 2020 to seven last year, but that figure is a far cry from the 17 homicides the city saw in 2016.
In addition to fewer violent crimes, Danville saw 1,131 fewer property crimes over the last three years (2019 through 2021) as compared with the previous three-year period (2016 through 2018). That number is a decrease of 23 percent.
Property crimes include arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. In 2021, property crimes increased to 1,255 from 1,129 in 2020, but both figures are the lowest since 1985.