Apr 22, 2024 - News

Homicides in Richmond are declining so far in 2024

Illustration of a downward arrow made of crime scene tape.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Despite the recent surge in youth homicides, violent crime and homicides overall are down in the city thus far this year.

Why it matters: April has been an especially deadly month in Richmond, but the city is actually seeing its lowest violent crime rate in seven years.

State of play: Violent crime in the city is down 7% compared to this time last year and is at its lowest rate in "at least seven years" for the first quarter of 2024, Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards said in RPD's quarterly crime briefing last week.

By the numbers: From Jan. 1 to March 31, Richmond had 11 homicides, compared to 18 for the same period last year.

  • Even including the nine people shot and killed in April, homicides are down by 25% in the city.
  • Aggravated assault is down 17%.
  • Rape dropped by 58%.
  • Commercial robberies are down 64%.

What they're saying: "Until the past two weeks, we had a lot of good things to talk about," Edwards said.

Yes, but: Robberies of people jumped by 61% for Q1 2024 compared to last year.

  • There were 58 in the first quarter of 2024 compared to 36 in the first three months of last year and they're concentrated in South Richmond, Edwards said.
  • Car thefts are also up by 85%.
  • Accidental shootings are up too, at seven in Q1 compared to five last year.

The intrigue: The school-area speed enforcement cameras that went live last month are churning out an average of 176 speeding tickets a day.

  • The cameras are near Linwood Holton Elementary School in Northside and Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts in South Richmond.
  • "The crazy thing about this is, it's only five days a week and four hours a day" that the cameras are on, Edwards said.

The big picture: The drop in violent crime mirrors a national trend, Axios' Russell Contreras reports.

  • Murders declined by nearly 20% in 204 cities during the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, according to AH Datalytics, a criminal justice consulting firm.
  • At this pace, the murder rate in the U.S. could match its level in 2014 when many cities saw 30-year lows in violent crime and homicides.
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