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Community advocate doesn't think gun buyback program will work in Richmond

Community advocate skeptical gun buyback program will stem Richmond violence
Posted at 10:49 PM, Aug 15, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. — Despite another deadly weekend in the city of Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney is hopeful that a gun buybackprogram will help stem the tide of violence.

Crime Insider sources told Jon Burkett that more than half a dozen people were shot with two killed in at least four separate incidents across the city. Two of the city's public housing complexes were impacted.

On Saint Paul street in Gilpin Court Saturday night, two were shot. A woman is expected to survive, but police said 18-year-old Jessie Crumble-Bullock died.

Three miles east on Coalter Street in Mosby Court, another man was shot early on Monday morning.

"What it's really going to take, is leadership needs to humble themselves because humility is everything,” said Pastor Valerie Coley.

She found herself on the front lines of faith leadership decades ago when Richmond was known as the murder capital of the country per capita.

She's in the communities working with youth and mentoring, saying that's her solution. She said the current administration has too much pride and refuses to take advice from those who've helped deal with violence before.

"Mid-90s to early 2000s, we’ve been here before," Coley said.

She said the violence back then is comparable to what the city is enduring now, except it’s not a drug epidemic fueling the rage.

Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith recently announced that overall major crime is up by about 28% compared to last year, but said the homicide rate remains flat.

In a Democratic mayors’ conference call Monday, Mayor Stoney updated his counterparts across the country on how Richmond is trying to curb crime.

"We're also holding our first gun buyback event this weekend, where our goal is to get as many guns off the street as possible," Stoney said.

Coley said the program will not work.

"It will not be the gangbangers that say, ‘guess what? I'm going to relinquish my gun over to you,’ because you don't know what that gun might have on it,” said Coley. “You know some things are just common sense. You also have to look at different demographics. You go to other cities, and although there are crime similarities, it's still different demographics in that city. You can't say what works in that city is going to work in Richmond because it worked in New York. It's just not gonna work that way."

38 people have been killed in 2022, as the city approaches 160 shootings for the year. Stoney said Richmond’s success will depend on a holistic, community-based approach.

Coley said her community is also questioning the integrity of the Richmond Police Department, which she said must be fixed.

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