Attorney General’s Operation Ceasefire credited for decrease in violent crime across Virginia

DANVILLE, Va. – Violent crime is down across the Commonwealth, and state leaders are attributing the decrease to an initiative put in place by Attorney General Jason Miyares.

Operation Ceasefire was implemented back in 2022, focusing on three areas: prevention, intervention and prosecution.

The program is in 13 cities across the Commonwealth, four of which are in our region: Danville, Lynchburg, Martinsville and Roanoke.

“Roughly 3 to 5% of felons are committing over 50% of the violent crime. So, if you want to bring down crime, you have to go to those violent, repeat offenders and get them out of our neighborhoods and off our streets,” said Miyares.

Funding from Operation Ceasefire is helping cities get new technology to fight crime, like a real-time crime center, which gives officers in the field information about patterns instantaneously in an effort to prevent future crimes as well as updating existing tools to examine bullet fragments.

“We really saw that that helped us early on in a violent incident with that ballistic imaging to match those shell cases to different shootings and different shooters,” said Roanoke Police Chief Scott Booth.

Prosecuting violent crime is also being made easier with help from victims and bystanders sharing information with police and their willingness to testify.

“I think we’ve shown time and time again that when we get cooperation from the community, we solve crimes very quickly,” said Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan Zuidema.

“We are seeing more people come forward, willing to testify in cases. That’s something we struggle on the prosecution side, getting witnesses to come forward,” said Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney, Bethany Harrison.

The proof Operation Ceasefire is working is in the numbers.

From 2022-23, Virginia’s murder rate dropped 17%.

The murder rate also fell in Danville by 25% and Lynchburg by 50%.

But Roanoke saw quite a hike with a 56% increase in murders.

“Help is here. This is a proven method that works, but it is going to take time,” saod Miyares.

While the General Assembly hasn’t passed a budget yet, Miyares is hopeful funding for Operation Ceasefire will continue.

10 News Anchor John Carlin provided a full breakdown of the history of Operation Ceasefire, which you can watch below:

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