DANVILLE, Va. – 2019 was a banner year for the Danville Police Department.
“Looking at burglaries, 2018 to 2019, we are showing a 19% reduction. Our aggravated assaults-all weapons, a 44% reduction. Aggravated assaults-firearms only, a 59% reduction in those crimes. Forcible sex offenses, 44% reduction in those crimes, our robberies at a 62% reduction, and our murders, from 11 to 8, 27%," said Danville Police Chief Scott Booth.
Crimes in all five of the FBI’s crime categories, Booth said, were also solved at a rate higher than the national average.
He’s particularly proud of his department’s burglary rate.
“We’re almost double the national average with our burglaries (solved), which historically, in my law enforcement experience, is one of the toughest crimes to clear. Traditionally, you’re not working with a victim that’s been on scene to witness that. Our detectives usually have to do a lot more groundwork on that," Booth explained.
One area in particular Booth hopes to improve on is community policing.
In 2019, the department began bike patrols and a neighborhood walk program where officers walk through a neighborhood right after a traumatic incident occurs there and talk to residents about what they need.
“If anything, I feel like our (community) partnership efforts, we just need to keep pushing and that’s what we’re going to be doing more of in 2020," Booth said.
Stratified policing may help with that. It’s a strategy Booth began implementing last year with the help of Radford University professors Dr. Roberto and Rachel Santos.
“Stratified policing is an organizational model that creates a framework and method to infuse evidence-based strategies, things that we know work to reduce crime and policing," Roberto said.
“You see crime reduction across-the-board. We’ve seen that in other agencies, as well as Danville. Also, the internal organizational change. It’s changing the way please do business and how they feel about being able to help the community and do a better job,” Rachel said.
A strategy for a successful future Booth plans to continue to focus on.