RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) –Richmond’s homicide rate skyrockets, as gun violence fails to slow down after top officials declared the scourge a public health crisis in May.
Mayor Levar Stoney pointed the finger to guns rampant on streets, and at a growing mental health crisis on Tuesday.
Hours after 8News pressed Stoney on the city’s status to find a solution to gun violence, Richmond police said a gunshot victim walked themselves into an East End hospital with life-threatening injuries.
With guns ending up in the wrong hands, and what officials have continuously cited as pent-up, pandemic stress, an immediate fix to the pervasive violence is unknown; a shooting trend that is reflected across this country.
According to Richmond police data, 40 people have been killed this year; 11 more compared to this time in 2020. 34 homicides involved a gun in 2021.
“I’m incredibly concerned,” Stoney said. Adding, “No, it’s not the 1990s, that’s not the case, but still, when a person loses their son or daughter to gun violence, that’s a problem for all of us.“
He said that he believes Chief Gerald Smith is doing everything he can with the resources he currently has. Stoney emphasized that the department can’t just solve crimes but also has to prevent them.
“So, whether there are weapons and firearms and fire power we see in these communities we’ve got to get these guns off the street,” Stoney said.
Smith said that a way community members can help get guns off the streets is to report lost and stolen guns.
I asked Police Chief Gerald Smith off camera about getting guns off the street, he told me it’s paramount the public report lost and stolen guns.
People can get up to $1,000 if information they provide successfully leads to an illegal gun being found through a program for reported illegal weapons.