City homicide totals trending way down

noVa-logoThe number of city homicides is almost 30 fewer than at this time over the last three years, but work is just getting started, police reported Tuesday.

“We have seen the greatest reduction in homicides in almost 50 years, … but don’t slam the football,” Police Captain Joe McHale reported to the mayor and city manager.

“Keep your eye on the ball,” he said. “We have only begun to scratch the surface.”

As of Tuesday, there were 63 homicides, which puts the city on course for fewer than 75 homicides this year.

That’s in a city that has averaged just over 100 homicides a year. In 2012 and 2013, its homicide rates of 23 per 100,000 residents were among the worst in large cities.

The projected rate for this year is about 15.8 per 100,000, McHale said.

He is the manager of the No Violence Alliance, which is in its second year of efforts to cut the number of murders.

The alliance of police, prosecutors and citizens is still learning what works best and expects to perform better, McHale said.

Police also made big organizational changes this year, city health officials expanded the Aim4Peace program to cover more of the east side, and the city expanded its summer youth programs.

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