LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Little Rock Mayor, Frank Scott, Jr. shared an update on the city's efforts to reduce a recent surge in crime.
Early Wednesday, city leaders discussed how they're addressing resident's concerns around public safety, and how they're tackling other issues like loitering and code violations.
Mayor Scott said that he wants to focus on long-term solutions, as the city continues to see higher crime numbers.
This thought was shared with Little Rock Assistant Police Chief, Wayne Brewley who said that crime has increased by 35% compared to last year, with homicides up almost 43%
"I am pleased to say that we have not had a homicide since our last press meeting last week. We are at 10 homicides compared to 7 at the same time last year. Out of those 10, we've made arrests on 6 which puts us at a clearance rate of 60%," said Brewley.
Little Rock is only 4% behind, as the national average is around 64%.
The initiative to curb crime is something that the city is rallying behind. Brewley said that Little Rock has already issued close to $2 million to 10 local organizations who sent in proposals for crime intervention programs.
The city won a U.S. Department of Justice million dollar grant in December to hire more social workers.
This comes as the city is also hiring more street team specialists that are focused on the systemic and root causes for city crime.
These specialists consist of people such as social workers. The Little Rock Police Department hired their first social worker, reducing the number of calls by responding to situations that have more to do with mental and social well being.
This isn't the only initiative that the city has taken, authorities are also targeting issues like loitering.
Mayor Scott acknowledged the city's loitering issue, with a sweep happening afterwards at Bradford Estates, holding businesses accountable.
"Starting with our top 10 locations with the most calls for service, we know there are particular areas of the city where loitering happens. Shortly after the loitering happens, crime happens," said Mayor Scott.
Last week, many people visited the Bradford Estates-- from police and fire officials, to people in housing and neighborhood programs, to those that are a part of code enforcement for planning and development.
"We found over 100 violations at the property and are currently working with the property owner," said Jamie Collins with the Planning & Development Department.
That goal is bigger than just Bradford Estates. Little Rock Fire Chief, Delphone D. Hubbard said that the city is working to combat loitering in different areas and places of business around the city.
"We identified 10 business locations throughout the city that had the largest call volume of complaints. A letter was drafted informing those businesses of the expectations in regards to the recent ordinance that was passed by members of the Board of Directors," said Hubbard.
As for addressing crime, police are still focused on several spots in the city where they're seeing the most violent crime and paying extra attention to those areas.