LPD: Community Policing Helped Lower Crime Stats

Lynchburg, VA - The Lynchburg police department is pleased with new crime statistics, showing the total number of incidents was down in 2012.

The state police released the annual report this week, showing property crime is down significantly from the year before.

Police attribute several things to lowering the number of property crimes last year -- everything from social media to vigilant citizens.

Sirens. It's a sound no one wants in their neighborhood. And if you live in Lynchburg, you may be hearing it less.

"We are pleased with that. But we also understand that we still have a lot of work to do," said Captain Whit Clark.

While kidnappings, forcible rapes and fraud were up, the department says that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

"It could be because we're starting to have more crime reported to us where we haven't seen that in the past," Clark explained.

Most impressive: the decrease in property crimes. There were 727 vandalisms reported in 2012, compared to 966 the year before. Burglaries were down as well, 369 reported in 2012, compared to 522 in 2011.

Captain Whit Clark says the reason is two-fold.

"Good investigations by our officers and detectives. It's also reflective of the community itself," he said.

Through groups like neighborhood crime watch. The Community Services Coordinator says they've seen a steady increase in the number of groups in recent years.

"Watch members are told that they're the eyes and the ears of the police department. And they literally are," said Steven Wood, LPD's Crime Prevention Coordinator.

"We have 58 active groups right now, which is phenomenal," he added.

The department is also offering more home safety seminars, crime prevention fairs and beefing up its presence using social media like Facebook and Twitter. There are nearly 2,000 likes on its Facebook page alone.