Danville to reactivate Street Crimes Unit

Published: May. 7, 2016 at 7:36 AM EDT
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Less than 20 hours after a taxi driver was ambushed and shot in Danville, the department announced changes.

Friday afternoon, Chief Philip Broadfoot announced the full scale, reactivation of the Street Crimes Unit.

Chief Broadfoot says the spike in recent violent crimes are not related, and in four of the recent shootings the people involved knew each other.

Regardless, the chief says something needs change to make the citizens of Danville feel safe.

Chief Broadfoot started the Street Crimes Unit in 2010 and scaled it back in 2014.

The unit will be made up of 15 to 20 officers.

Chief Broadfoot says the unit will be focusing on areas where violent crimes tend to occur.

The announcement came with many questions, but much support from city council.

"I'm very excited to see the street crimes unit put back into play," City council member James Buckner says, "Some time, it's got to happen. We made it very clear [Thursday] night during our council meeting that something had to give, and this is a great response to our request."

Not everyone agrees completely with the chief's decision.

"I do think that we need a Street Crime Unit," says community member, Felicia Wharton, "But I do know that the police officers have to have a better communication with the black community."

She says it's about building trust.

"They have to establish communication. Because right now, we don't trust them. Not all of them, because we do have some good officers but just to say the Street Crime Unit is coming back, a lot of black people are not ready for that."

City Council members are calling for meetings throughout the city to make sure people's voices are heard.

Chief Broadfoot says there will be multiple community meetings over the next couple of weeks.

He says this is the next step to reducing violence in the city of Danville.