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How Richmond leaders plan to take action amid spike in violent crime

Richmond Police investigate Southside stabbing
Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 18:27:08-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A spike in violent crime across Richmond is causing concern for city leaders. Within a 24-hour time period between Monday and Tuesday, Richmond Police responded to six shootings. Three of them proved deadly, and five of them happened on the Southside.

“I know I’m tired of it," said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “I know the residents who have to live with the daily soundtrack of bullets are tired of it as well.”

Mayor Stoney recognized the city is experiencing an uptick in gun violence this year.

"There are a lot of guns in our community, and they're everywhere," he said. "It doesn't matter what age you might be. You could be a teenager, and you might have a weapon, even possessing it illegally."

So far, there have been at least 80 homicides in Richmond in 2021 which is the highest number in more than a decade.

This map shows six shootings that happened Monday and Tuesday:

How Richmond leaders plan to take action amid spike in violent crime

“The number that have been shot over the past 24 to 48 hours, it is alarming," said 9th District Councilman Mike Jones.

Jones said he's been pushing for solutions at city hall, but there's not just one right answer to stopping gun violence.

“If we don't have jobs for them, if we're not educating, if we're not showing that we care, I don't care what interruption you do," he said. "I don't care who you send back to talk to these young folks. If they don't look like them and if they're not from where they've been, and to show them that there's another way out, the cycle is going to continue."

City officials are currently in the process of reviewing a new gun violence prevention and intervention plan which should be launching in the beginning of the year. A copy of the plan that was handed out during a community meeting last week shows it aims to address social, economic, and health inequities that often lead to violence.

It also includes six focus areas:

  • Prevention
  • Intensive Case Management
  • Training and Quality Assurance
  • Homicide & Shooting Review Commission
  • Credible Messengers
  • Crisis Intervention & Wraparound Support

“Mental health support should be available as well," said Mayor Stoney. "These are the things that we're working on with a number of partners in our community, and we've put money towards that already.”

The city allocated $1.5 million out of $155 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to gun violence prevention programming. We asked Mayor Stoney if that's enough money.

"We know that in order to fight gun violence, it's a holistic approach," he said. "And so if you look at what we put in the in the ARPA budget for community centers, things of that nature, that too, is a tool to fight gun violence."

Jones said he'd like to see more money directed to grassroots organizations and people who are in communities constantly working to stop cycles of violence.

“How do we get the money into the hands of those that are actually in the streets? The people that are out there doing the work, they typically don’t [get the money,]" he said.

CBS6 asked why.

“Because it's the system," Jones responded. "It's not set up to give them the money. It just isn't."

Jones said the funding does exist, but it's a matter of dividing it up, reaching out to organizations, and allowing them to have access. He said he's actively trying to work around the system in place now.