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Police chief credits new strategy for city’s crime drop

NORFOLK (AP) One Virginia city has recorded its lowest level of violent crime in nearly two decades.

Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone said in a statement on Wednesday that 2017 was Norfolk’s safest year in 17 years, with the city seeing significant drops in the number of homicides and shootings.

Homicides dropped 25 percent from 2016, to 36, while overall violent crime fell 19 percent, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Property crimes fell 13 percent.

Boone credited a “surgical” approach in which police target known gang members and violent criminals who have warrants for their arrests, instead of focusing in patrolling “hot areas.” Boone said he implemented the approach shortly after assuming his role in November 2016. The department rectified initial communication problems that hindered the strategy, he added.

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