Petersburg police chief: Crime down despite staffing challenges

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PETERSBURG, Va (WRIC) — Crime is down in the city of Petersburg despite police staffing challenges. Chief William Rohde told 8News violent crime is down six percent compared to last year.

The Petersburg Police Department has had 20 resignations since June and has close to 200 employees total.

89702ad2e82f4267b8a8497a13552c21“The majority of the people that have left have gone to other police agencies,” Chief William Rohde explained.

According to the chief, the department is not having any complications patrolling their beats and answering calls in a  sufficient manner.

” Even though we have had some manpower  issues, we have have been doing an excellent job and we are taking steps to come back from that,” Chief Rohde said.

However, they have had to cut out community engagement program where officers shared statistics with members of the community. These programs also gave residents the opportunity to share details about safety and concerns about neighborhood crime.

The police department has also had to change the way they accommodate requests for officers for community events. In the past, officers would be assigned to  provide security for community events. The department would pay them over time for providing service.

Now, the department is only able to have on-duty officers stop by events and then return to their designated beats.

In spite of the staffing challenges, statistics they received in the department this week show violent crime is down six percent and robberies are down 12 percent.

“Things that are up are like credit card fraud and shop lifting. Shoplifting statistics go up when the stores increase security,” William Rohde said.

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The department has hired about five officers recently and are hoping to come back from the loss of staff gradually.

According to Chief Rohde, the Robert Bobb Group is looking for ways to restore the pay cuts.

While most officers have left the department over pay cuts,  some however have cited the national attitude toward officers as their reason for resignation.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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