Roanoke Police pleased with crime reduction downtown

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Roanoke police are pleased with progress they're seeing fighting crime downtown.

They’ve seen talking double digit crime drops between 2016 and 2017, and that's welcome news to police and the people who visit here.

Downtown has seen its share of change over the last few years.
It's on the rise according to Jaime Clark with Downtown Roanoke Inc.
That means more businesses for them to help.

Jaime Clark, Downtown Roanoke Inc, said, “We hear from them about all kinds of different things -- we try to be a resource in whatever aspect we need.”

Sometimes, it's getting them connected with Roanoke Police, and some of Lieutenant Tardy's officers.

Lt. Jennings Tardy, Roanoke Police, said, “We have to know what's going on. It helps us know where to be and when to be there.”

Tardy is in charge of the downtown beat, as well as the three officers on duty there.

“They know people,” said Tardy. “They know the store owners, the business owners, they know a lot of the people that live there. And that goes a long way.”

Between 2016 and 2017, Roanoke Police numbers show an overall 24 percent drop in crime downtown. More serious crimes are down about 44 percent, while others like theft are lower, too.

“The fact that we knocked down larceny by 25 percent is huge,” said Tardy.

Tardy says there's no one reason. Instead, he says it's a combination of his officers patrolling, using data to predict when the next crime might happen, and talking with businesses.

Clark said, “They've got eyes on the street and are able to inform police of some of the stuff they might not be able to see.”

“It's a collaborative effort,” said Tardy.

It's a collaboration leading to progress he'd like to continue.

“We had a good year,” he said.

Another notable change is that the number of robberies downtown went from 7 in 2016 down to 0 in 2017.