Operation Safe Streets Southside nets more than 200 arrests

Thousands of dollars worth of drugs seized

DANVILLE, Va. – Thanks to a local and state law enforcement operation, more than 200 people have been arrested and thousands of dollars worth of drugs have been seized. 

Danville police say that Operation Safe Streets Southside spanned more than a month, from May 2 to July 25. 

The operation reportedly resulted in 97 arrests on felony charges, 76 arrests on misdemeanor charges and 35 arrests of fugitives over a 10-week period.  

"[The goal of Operation Safe Streets is] to reduce crime, specifically violent crime in our community," said Danville police Chief Scott Booth.

State police and the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office also seized 21 illegal guns, 698 grams of illegal drugs with a combined street value of $49,276 and $15,125. 

Illegal drugs confiscated include cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, meth and synthetic marijuana.  

Police appear to be making headway.

Crime data shows that -- compared to this time last year -- robberies are down 75 percent, aggravated assaults involving firearms are down 65 percent and burglaries are down 26 percent.

However, homicides remain the same, at six.

"I'm happy that crime appears to be declining in our communities," said Chief Booth. "I would like to stand up here in front of you and say that we've had zero homicides."

James Reynolds, a Danville resident, wants to see an end to the violence in his city.

He's a minister and the president of the Men for Change group in Danville, which has organized community marches to stand against violence.

"I think things are getting better, but I think we got to work harder," said Reynolds. "We have to work harder on building relationships and communicating with people that's on the street."

Chief Booth would like Operation Safe Streets to continue every year if state police can afford the resources. Since April, Booth said the department has been focused on using data to track crime, which will be the focus of their policing efforts moving forward.

He also added that community intervention and participatio to stop violence is essential.

"We have to continue to work on intervention," Booth said. "I want young men, young women to not feel the call to join a gang so we don't have to sit up here and talk about making those arrests."

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