Lynchburg homicide rate on course to double from two years ago

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- With two murders so far this year, 2018 is on a course to double the homicide rate from two years ago.

There were four murders in 2016 and six in 2017. “If you look at numbers you might say we’re on a higher trajectory to have those types of murders, but again, this isn’t really something we can put a definitive number on," explained Lt. Tony Crews with the Lynchburg Police Department."

Jordan Keyes was killed back and January and, Sunday night, Ricky Johnson Sr. was shot dead outside his parent’s home. “We haven’t seen any identifiable reasons why we have an increase in homicides, some of these crimes are usually unpredictable," said Crews.

Another area on the rise, auto thefts and larcenies.

From 2016 to 2017, auto thefts went from 113 to 145 and larcenies 297 to 438.

LPD calls them crimes of opportunity. “People are just going to be walking down the street, they’re going to see an open door an open window to a car and they see some merchandise and they see some property," he said.

A few years back, the department shifted from street crime units to Intelligence-led policing, something that LPD says has helped target these problem areas. “The crime that’s predictable and the crime that we maybe can forecast, Intelligent-led policing definitely allows us to look at those crime trends and allows up to get ahead of them," said Lt. Crews.

Some of the crimes on the decline include rape, down to 92 last year from 141 in 2016; and robbery at 42 from 58 in 2016.