LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s no secret, we’ve seen a violent summer. At one point, we were on track to have one of the worst crime years in recent history.
At the rate we were going, some people predicted we could have had homicide numbers similar to the 90’s when the city saw a record 70 homicides in one year.
Now calculations show we’re on track to have 55 homicides by the end of the year.
According to the Little Rock Police, there has been 49 homicides so far in 2017. Make no mistake, compared to years past, we’re still up on our homicide number. In the last few months, violent crime has just been down.
New Little Rock Police recruits are sitting in a classroom learning what they need to know before they hit the streets. It’s six months of this before Elizabeth Roberson is sworn in to protect and to serve.
“I want to make the city better. I want it to be more of a comfortable place to be. I have a child who is my main focus and I want her to feel more conformable growing up here,” Roberson said.
She says she’s seen the violence in the Capitol City and wanted to be a part of the solution.
“In order to make a change you have to be apart of the change,” Roberson said.
For the last few months of year, Little Rock has seen a decrease in not only homicides, but violent crimes too.
“Even the shootings have dropped, the non-life threatening or the shootings where people are seriously hurt, but don’t die,” LRPD officer Steve Moore said.
The question is, what caused the sudden drop? After the spike in crime, the police department issued an overtime mandate and the mayor released a “Little Rock For Life” plan.
“Certainly, we want to hold that line and keep that going between now and the end of the year,” Mayor Mark Stodola said.
The city hopes a long term solution will be the recruits in class who will fill the open police vacancies.
“I think by the end of the year we will have hired 85 new police officers and I’m encouraged by that,” Stodola said.
Roberson says she can’t wait to graduate to help the place she calls home.
“Instead of just seeing it happen, I like to get in there and do better for the community,” Roberson said.
There are two recruitment classes going on now. One class will graduate at the beginning of the new year and a third class will start in February.
STEPHANIE SHARP write this news and you can keep up with arkansasmatters