Danville, VA - The number of homicides in Danville have gone up significantly from 2012. But that doesn't mean they're high.Danville had 6 homicides in 2013, compared to 3 in 2012. Lynchburg had only 1. There could be two other possible homicides, depending on toxicology reports. And Roanoke had 8 this year, with another also waiting on reports.
For Danville's size, 4 homicides a year would be typical. In the past 10 years, they've averaged 7 a year. But for Danville police, they say one is too many.
Danville police actively try to prevent crimes before they happen."It's impossible to measure what the police presence has done," said Cpt. Dennis Haley, Danville Police Department.
But you can measure the number of homicides. In 2012 they broke recent records with only 3 in the city, which makes 6 in 2013 seem high. But Danville police say those numbers don't tell the whole story.
"This year does not mean the suppression efforts have not been effective, it just means we had other people who came out as individuals who committed a criminal act," said Haley.
The homicide rates have dropped significantly from just a few years ago. Between 2008 and 2011 the average number of homicides was 9.5.
"It's a significant improvement," said Haley.
Captain Dennis Haley says they're now seeing the effects of targeting violent individuals. And they've drastically increased their rate for solving homicides, getting those criminals off the streets.
"It is a department wide effort," said Haley.
Elmer Wiles has worked on North Main Street for 11 years, just feet away from a murder in March 2013.
"It was a little scary because like I said, it is close to here," said Wiles.
But even so, Wiles says he feels safer now than years ago.
"I don't know if it's the level of respect people are growing for the police or they are just nervous they are going to get in trouble. But either way it's great," said Wiles.
For 2013, police made have 3 arrests in the 6 homicides. They say they are expecting several more soon. But in 2013, they also arrested 2 people for cold cases.