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NORFOLK, Va. (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.

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

Boone credits a “surgical” approach in which police target known gang member 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, and the department has rectified the initial communication problems that hindered the strategy.


Information from: The Virginian-Pilot,