RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Police Department is aiming to prevent gun violence with several outreach efforts throughout the city.
This comes after a 17-year-old was fatally shot on the Southside on Wednesday, marking the City’s 30th homicide so far this year. This homicide is also the first one this year involving a person under the age of 18.
This is a milestone that’s unsettling to some Richmond residents like Jason Norwood.
“It’s sad to see that it is getting the way it is,” Norwood said. “I feel like the shooters and the victims are getting younger and younger.”
The trend of violence is causing the Richmond Police Department to take action.
“We certainly are worried about all of our victims of gun violence, but it’s particularly concerning when it’s our youth,” Interim Chief of Police, Rick Edwards, said.
Edwards says the city is up three homicides so far this year. There have been 30 homicides in the City as of Thursday, May 25, while there had been 27 so far at the same time last year.
“What we’re seeing are people that have easy access to firearms, that are with low impulse control,” Edwards said. “And before they know it, what should be a fist fight turns into a gunfight.”
Edwards said the department is implementing several strategies to tackle this violence, starting with their monthly pop-up series. Police officers were out in the community on Thursday evening playing games, listening to music and connecting with residents, all while aiming to make a difference.
Richmond Police officers also plan to distribute 80 safes in the community to help people keep their guns secure. They also plan to kick off “Operation Safe Summer” on June 10 to also help cut down on the violence.
“Our biggest and best partner is always a community,” Edwards said. “So, we need we need folks in the community to trust us and to be real partners in their own public safety.”