The City of Henderson regularly appears on the national lists for “safest cities.” But since the appointment of a new police chief last year, crime appears to be on the rise.
Cristen Drummond, Reporter: “Do you like living in Henderson?”
Annie Nicksick, Henderson resident and mother: “I love Henderson. I just think it has a great small town feel.”
Even though Nicksich says she feels safe, she also knows the city continues to evolve.
“You have to be aware of the changes and as the city grows more people are here so you still have to be mindful,” Nicksich said.
Part of the change includes new Henderson Police Chief Latesha Watson. She spoke to 8 News NOW one-on-one Wednesday.
“It’s been a very, very busy year,” Chief Watson said.
Chief Watson spoke to 8 News NOW about everything from all officers now wearing body cameras to implementing new programs like geographic-based policing in August.
“Officers are specifically assigned to geographic areas within the actual community and they work those particular areas day in and day out,” Chief Watson said.
However, since her arrival, her department’s seen an increase of crime. But it’s not exactly what it seems.
“When you look at this year — in previous years the primary driver of crime in the City of Henderson is not violent crime — it’s property crime,” said Watson. “Violent crime is down although it may have the appearance or the perception that it’s up.”
While data shows violent crime going down, the number of homicides have increased in the City of Henderson this year. Chief Watson says majority of those are domestic related.
“And those within someone’s home is something any organization is not going to be able to prevent,” Chief Watson said.
Despite her efforts, Henderson resident Joseph Lankowski is concerned about police shootings.
“I don’t know what kind of reign she has over her officers because there have been three officer-involved shootings already this year,” Lankowski said.
Chief Watson says she plans to prevail and keep Henderson “a place to call home” for future generations.
Chief Watson says data next year will likely show the impact from her decisions including geographic policing and community-oriented policing.