RICHMOND, Va. -- City leaders continued to ask the community for help in getting offenders off the streets during an event addressing an increase in violent crime.
Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham responded to concerns at a Report to the Community at the Richmond Police Training Academy on West Graham Road Friday morning.
"I take offense when I read comments after stories are published on social media about how police are not doing their job and crime is getting out of control. We are doing everything we can," Chief Durham said.
Durham reported that three of the nine homicides committed in 2017 have been cleared by arrests.
"Nine homicides is nine homicides too many," Stoney said.
Durham said detectives are investigating six home invasions, two of which were drug related where the suspects entered the home and directly demanded drugs.
He remarked more often than not the victims know their offenders.
"In 61 homicides last year, 55 of those the victims knew the suspects. There was a relationship. Sometimes people's lifestyles ends up them getting killed," Durham said. "I'm not here to defame or denounce the people who were killed. No one should lose a life regardless of the lifestyle they live."
Durham called on the public to speak up saying "public safety is a shared responsibility. At the end of the day the police are held accountable for the [offender's] actions and that's not fair for us."
One reporter asked Mayor Stoney whether community programs that City Hall or the schools are talking about to combat violence.
"I think the Richmond Police Department has some strong community policing programs over the years and we continue to have strong police community policing programs, as well," Stoney responded. "My hope though is that a lot of incidents that we need to help from our neighbors and are settled and in order to solve some of these crimes and close some of these cases we need people to step up."
WTVR CBS 6 previously reported in the first four weeks of 2017, violent crime was up 25 percent in Richmond, compared to Chicago's crime up by just 24 percent.
On gang relations, Chief Durham said officers have seen a "significant increase" in activity where members are recruiting students inside city schools.
As of February 10, Durham said he is down 27 officer positions out of 726 officers and has lost four to other agencies this year.
Listed below is the list of homicide cases in Richmond as of February 10 with cases cleared by an arrest in bold.
Durham announced two homicide arrests: Antoine R. Cooper, 21 of the 1600 block of Rosecrest Avenue, was arrested February 6 by U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force and charged with conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the murder of Charles J. Lewis III. Lewis, 53 of the 2800 block of Matterhorn Drive in Henrico, was found dead in a car on the 2400 block of Barton Avenue on January 23.
Stephen D. Green, 23 of the 1700 block of West Moore Street, was arrested February 1 by the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force with the assistance by Chesterfield Police and charged with first degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and shooting into an occupied vehicle for the death of Joseph Boyle. Boyle, 31 of the 4900 block of Jacobs Glenn Drive in Chesterfield, was found in a car that struck a tree in the 5000 block of Snead Road on January 29.
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