MARTINSVILLE (WSLS) - Martinsville police arrested 21-year-old Denzel Moyer following a shooting at a house party over the weekend. Moyer faces several charges including malicious wounding. The victim is expected to be okay. Despite the recent shooting, figures show crime in Martinsville has dropped significantly. Martinsville Police Chief Sean Dunn said the decrease is partly due to increased community engagement.
Community meetings are one way Martinsville police are hearing the concerns of residents.
Longtime Martinsville resident, Tony Jones, said the recent shooting that occurred on Stuart Street is a setback to efforts to reduce crime and build trusting relationships between residents and police.
"Police have made it a point to come out to meetings and they are very approachable," said Jones. "It's a contradiction when see the great community policing but you see crimes being committed."
Figures released by the Martinsville Police Department show that in 2014 the number of reported crimes in the city dropped by 23% compared to 2013. The report shows violent crimes were down 15%. Officers said the decrease is partly due to a focus on community policing.
"We just want to be as transparent as we can with our citizens to show them what we are about and help them reduce crime in their neighborhood," said Officer Sandy Hines.
Officer Hines said the department mapped the city and broke it into 20 sections. He said the department hopes to have officers designated to each area by this summer. Recently, Martinsville police developed a bike unit to patrol parts of the city. Chief Sean Dunn said having officers outside of their vehicles can help break down communication barriers and make officers appear more approachable.
"We don't want to just be seen making an arrest or making traffic stops," said Chief Dunn. "We want to be seen in every aspect of our community."
On Tuesday, May 5th, Martinsville will hold their first "Police Community Summit". Chief Sean Dunn and Officer Coretha Gravely will discuss policing in a diverse community. The meeting starts at 6pm at Martinsville High School.