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Letter: Good News Behind Homicide Rate Story


I do not know how long reporter Ned Oliver has lived in Richmond-on-the-James, but I am old enough to remember years Richmond was the murder capital of the East Coast ("Another Vigil: 'Enough Is Enough,'"). There were years when Richmond rivaled Chicago and Hammond, Ind., as the nation's murder capital.

I recall years when the homicide total was around 160. I cannot find FBI homicide statistics prior to 1985 (yet), but Richmond's homicide total has decreased every year, with the exception of 1997, 2004 and 2010, the last year for which such statistics are available. And in those years, the increase was slight.

Every homicide is its own tragedy, but Style Weekly is heaping homicide statistics without any regard to telling the entire story. And that story is that the FBI says that violent crime, in nearly every category, has dropped dramatically in the last 30 years.

This is Richmond's 14th homicide; we are on a pace currently for about 27! There is indeed something to celebrate in this astonishing progress, but you'd never know by reading Style. This figure, 27, represents approximately an 83 percent reduction in homicides in approximately 30 years!

William Burke, Henrico

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