Is a greater Richmond police presence the answer to growing crime?

Posted at 11:38 PM, Oct 02, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-02 23:38:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)-- Is a greater police presence the answer to growing crime?

Tuesday night, jingles from an ice cream truck permeated a Richmond neighborhood, with children rushing to get their favorite treat. However, living in Richmond’s Hillside Court community has been far from a treat.

Along with jingles there are eventually police sirens in the neighborhood. There was a murder in the neighborhood this past weekend and four of the 11 homicides in September were in that sector of the city.

As a result, more police officers are lurking in the neighborhood, but, some residents don’t think that’s the answer.

“If we're not looking out for the safety of each other, then the police being present is not going to make us any safer,” says Hillside Court resident, Patrice Shelton. She works with the group, Embrace Richmond. “More of a support group to help them to have someone to come to, someone they can talk, trust and believe,” says Shelton.

Shelton tells CBS 6 such a support group is needed, especially with most of the city’s 35 murders so far this year being isolated, domestic incidents according to Jones.
"The increase in homicides does not appear to be related to any gang activity or drug activity,” says Jones.

Other Hillside Court residents are supporting Shelton with Embrace Richmond. They’re talking with residents, welcoming new neighbors and even hold dinners on the fourth week of every month for residents.

“I don't want the residents to feel like they have to be closed in. I want them to feel like Hillside is a community where we can all bond together,” says one resident.