Martinsville sees 38% drop in crime thanks to new technology, community involvement

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Police said they’re making progress in Martinsville. While police are still investigating a shooting that left one man hurt over the weekend, the overall crime rate is down.

Once among the top 10 worst cities in the state for crime, Martinsville Police Chief Robert Fincher said those days are gone. Crime is down 38% from the past year.

“Knowing that crime rate has gone down is really securing,” Martinsville resident Olivia Aaron said. “It makes me happy because it’s a great place to live.”

“I came from a really big city so coming here to a smaller town, I think I definitely feel a lot safer here,” Martinsville resident Natalie Aaron said. “We’re able to walk downtown and feel safe as girls.”

Fincher said he couldn’t believe the numbers at first.

“It became the debate of that if we tell people about this then we’re going to jinx ourselves, it’s going to end up rebounding or something, but it’s just too good of news to keep quiet,” Fincher said.

Some of the most common crimes on the decline include simple assault which is down 43% and larceny which is down 56%. Fincher said there are a few factors that may be contributing to the decline.

“It’s kind of a combination of things,” Fincher said. “One of the things in particular I got to give credit to is our citizens. Our citizens appear to be involved more with our officers more than they ever have been.”

Fincher said new technology is also helping. They’ve installed 42 cameras across the city at stoplights. AI technology can detect license plates of suspects that drive through making it easier for officers to track them down.

“They can pull up video of the area they’re responding to,” Fincher said. “They can see live what’s going on, they can pull up tag numbers of all the vehicles and get alerts to stolen vehicles as they enter in the city.”

Fincher said he hopes they can maintain the crime decrease not only in the city but spread it across the region.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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