RICHMOND, Va. -- Police in Richmond have faced numerous challenges in the past year. They are seeing officers leave the force and the number of homicides is up from this time last year.
Richmond Police currently have over 100 vacancies in their department and that number seems to be growing by the day. The chief and command staff are trying to solve this issue while dealing with factors that are triggering crime numbers.
"A survey that we just pulled the other day says one in four people are challenged in paying their rent and also show signs of joblessness and signs of depression. These things affect our community and crime overall," Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said.
Police said that there have been 65 homicides so far this year. Crime Insider sources said that including homicides that are justified, that number rises to 68.
Police are touting a 60 percent clearance rate as well but admit that work needs to be done.
"Violent crime is trending down but our homicides are up. More homicides, I want to put that into context. That's a number up there that speaks to our community losing what someone could've been and speaks to the pain of family, friends and loved ones," Smith said.
Smith also praised his officers who remain committed to the streets. A few hundred illegal guns were confiscated in the third quarter, adding to a total of more than 600 guns confiscated this year.
"That is not from someone sitting down and looking to take guns off the streets. They don't fall into an officer's lap. That's from officers coming here, busting their backside to get it done," Smith said.