Agency Type: Sheriff's Office
Population Size, based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau: 30,104
Agency Size: 93 total – 59 sworn; 34 non-sworn
Initiative Partnership(s): Smyth County Victim Witness Program; Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy; National Neighborhood Watch; Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
Grant Focus Area(s): Community Engagement, Training, Victim Services
The Smyth County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has a staff of 93 people serving a population of almost 30,000 individuals and covering over 430 square miles. Because of the large geographic area and rurality of the county, response times can be lengthy. Over the past several years, Smyth County has experienced a steady number of larcenies and burglaries, often related to narcotics crimes, in the more remote areas of their community.
The SCSO intends to fund a Neighborhood Watch Program and implement hot spot policing to help mitigate some of the crime challenges they are experiencing while also building community ties and relationships. The Neighborhood Watch Program will focus on the county’s rural areas, including Ceres, Chilhowie, Adwolfe, and Groseclose. Two SCSO deputies and the Smyth County Victim Witness Program Director will facilitate the Neighborhood Watch meetings. These meetings will help build community relationships and trust while educating the community on available resources. The hot spot policing effort will focus on areas that have historically been the target of narcotics-related offenses. The SCSO hopes that the additional presence of officers will deter crime from occurring, help officers obtain needed information, and make community members feel safer in their homes.