READING, Pa.- Homicides in Reading are down drastically following one of the most violent years the city has seen since the early 2000s.

"I can't remember in my almost 20 years here that we've ever been in the single digits for homicides," said RPD Capt. Paul Reilly of the criminal investigations division.

Reilly said the drastic decrease in homicides in Reading in 2019 is largely attributed to major investigations that took several violent criminals off the streets, but it was other charges they were arrested on.

"The drug element," said Reilly. "If they're involved in that sort of crime, they're also going to be involved in a lot of the violent crime that takes place in the city."

"While we know they're involved with violence, what we can prove is they're selling drugs," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams.

In Reading, homicide numbers plummeted from 19 in 2018 to six in 2019.

"I would say almost 90% of those homicides were drug-related," Adams said.

In March, the Berks County DA's office announced the indictments of eight people arrested during "Operation Shattered," which Adams said put a major dent in the city's violent crime.

He said the group was responsible for at least eight homicides in a two-year period.

"This was definitely the most violent group that we have ever seen in this county," said Adams.

Reilly said social media and technology have also helped, but he stressed the importance of cooperation from the community. He said seven of the homicides from the last two years are still unsolved.

"We are working with less officers than we have in the past, and it's a strain," Reilly said.

Even after the arrest, Reilly said there's still a lot of work to do through the trial.

"It's not a catch-up period for us right yet," said Reilly.

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