MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Richmond police are persisting with their goal of continuing to reduce crime in the city by building and maintaining community relationships.
It's the third-largest city in the Bluegrass region, behind Louisville and Lexington (sixth overall). However, has more crime than 87% of cities in the state according to the latest F.B.I. crime data.
The crime rate is also higher than the national average city, specifically when compared to communities of similar population. The chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Richmond is 1 in 35.
However, crime has decreased for five years straight. Interim Chief of Police Lt. Col. Rodney Richardson credits their involvement in the community and the relationships they've cultivated.
"Not only does it help them understand what's truly taking place out there, but they can talk to people and find out what's going on in the neighborhoods. If we can find out what's going on in their neighborhoods, then we can work to solve the problem," said Richardson.
In 2019, they participated or hosted a total of 83 community events. Even during the pandemic in 2020, they participated in 30 community events.
"It helps our officers know the people that they're going to be working for. I'm saying, they get out, they eat lunch at our local restaurants, they live here, they play here. It's just the officers are part of the community," said Richardson.
They're currently involved in their 5-week summer program for youth ages 11-14. They went bowling on Tuesday, and had a field day with the fire department where they sat in a helicopter, met a police K-9, and saw someone get tased on Wednesday.
"We knew that we had to make a connection with people, but nobody thinks about starting with the child because you know in 10 years that child is no longer a child. I'm saying and that's somebody you get to talk to interact with as an adult," said Richardson.
Kids involved in their summer program go on various trips and play several activities while also learning about law enforcement.
"We do work as a team, with the people who live here and that shows by stats, with the numbers going down, that it's working and it's something we're gonna continue to do and maybe even work a little harder at it," said Richardson.
Here's how Richmond's crime index compares to neighboring cities. A higher index means more crime. Richmond: 187.3 Berea: 124.1 Lancaster: 154.1 Nicholasville: 169.9 Irvine: 38.1 Winchester: 287.6 Ravenna: 33.8 Wilmore: 53.2 Clay City: 52.4
Crime in Richmond fell by 15% in 2019, but is still higher than in 66.2% of U.S. cities.
A majority of the crime is theft and property-related. Property crime here per thousand residents is 26.22. That's above the national median and state rate.
Richardson says theft could be driving up their numbers, but it could also be the influx of people the city gets comes in being home to a public university.
He says they'll continue working on it.