Crime Rates Up

By: Danielle Banks
By: Danielle Banks

"The Friendly City" may not be so friendly after all.

"We have the crimes of large cities," said Officer Scott Dinkel of Harrisonburg Police Department. "We're not immune to that. We're by no means a small town anymore."

Dinkel is talking about the number of assaults in Harrisonburg over the last few months. Since August there have been 40 assaults, including domestic violence and streets fights and nine robbery assaults in which individuals were attacked and mugged. There was also one home invasion less than a month ago where students at Harrisonburg house were held at gunpoint.

Police said anyone with a credit card or cash can be a target, so you need to practice safety in numbers and remember to lock your doors.

Dejuan Hodgins and Terry Martin were indicted this week for a series of break-ins and beatings on Devon Lane. But police say many criminals remain at large.

"The fact you're alone maybe on a street that's not very well lit at 2 o' clock in the morning. Maybe you've had a little bit to drink. It makes you a really easy target. It's really tough for the victim then to give a us a description of the criminal," Dinkel said.

Dinkel said the description of a criminal needs to include what the perpetrator was wearing at the time of the crime, but more importantly you need to accurately describe the individual's physical features.

"You should always be aware of what you're doing and where you at and what you have on you," said one late night streetwalker.

Dinkel agrees.

"The individuals continue to do these crimes until you take away the motivation and we can by deterring them, arresting them immediately, and then prosecuting them,” he said.

Police did have reports of some home break-ins last week while JMU students were on spring break. Their last reported assault was Feb. 20.


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