RICHMOND, Va. --Despite a spate of deadly violence to kick off the New Year, the thin blue line is reassuring neighbors that the streets of the River City are getting safer. Richmond Chief Alfred Durham along with Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Virginia State Police are touting sharp numbers.
“While we still have more work to do we have made great strides this year,” says Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham.
Violent crime dropped 12% in 2015. It’s the largest decrease in terms of percentages in seven years.
“I want to reiterate that violent crime is down almost 30% since 2009,” says Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones
There were 39 homicides in 2015. In 2014 that number was 43.
Leaders say the numbers are trending lower, but killings are still far too high and frequent. The reason says Richmond Police are far too many illegal guns on the street.
“We can no longer tolerate this and no longer accept this,” says Chief Durham.
Durham applauds the Fugitive and Firearms Initiative (FFI) which took 240 firearms off the streets. Officers with FFI made 585 arrests and nabbed 366 suspects wanted on warrants.
An emotional Charlene Boone wants to stop the violence. Her son Ke’Shawn Hargrove, who carried an illegal gun, died during a gun battle with Richmond Police last August. Boone was quick not to blame Richmond Police.
“I miss Ke’Shawn so much,” says Boone. “He was a convicted felon and he shouldn’t have had one, no way.”
Ms. Boone says she doesn’t want another mother to experience the same pain.
“I don’t care what I have to do to help the Richmond Police Department to get the guns off the street. I would do so,” says Boone.
In an effort to wipe the streets clean of illegal firearms Chief Durham introduced a new initiative called Guns to 5-O (oh). Where neighbors can text info to help officers find and confiscate guns.
“It is a safe and anonymous way for people to inform the police and take dangerous weapons off the street,” says Chief Durham.
Beginning in February the RPD will introduce the new “Guns to 5-O”.
If you know where illegal guns may be stashed and want them off of the streets you will be able to text 274-637 anonymously. You may be eligible for a $250 reward.
Additionally police reported that they had only received three complaints out of the 8,366 contacts/interactions they had with citizens.