RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond has reported over 60 homicides so far this year.
On Monday night alone, four people were shot and two were killed in two separate shootings within the city.
"My home area should be my safe place," Richmond Police Department Deputy Chief John Hayes said "Not a place of fear."
Oak Grove Playground in South Richmond has been a hotspot for violence over the past two years. The location has been the host for several double shootings, drive-bys and murders.
"The playground is supposed to be where we work and socialize with others and to grow up with the stories we need. It's not a place where things should end," Hayes said.
Hayes, who has been on the job for just three months, is aware that it will take some time to turn things around in the city. He believes this process can be sped up with support from the community.
Hayes arrived from the West Coast about three months ago, a former captain with the Seattle Police Department.
"People think oh, a shooting takes place. Oh, okay but they don't take into account the lingering effects of what that shooting means and we are also dealing with people who don't know how to cope with their own issues," said Hayes.
One of these issues is the fact that a third of Richmond's homicides in 2021 have happened on the city's Southside. Hayes confirms that RPD is at the table with federal agencies and their resources are robust.
"We are working our way out. The violence came in, now we are working through that and pretty soon we will have an open court. They'll fill the tennis courts too. We are really working on it, hard. New grants and new resources are coming our way and the teamwork, that's a wrap-around effort," Hayes said.