RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Police Department is planning to prevent more violent crime by addressing areas of the city with high drug activity.

In Tuesday’s public safety meeting, Acting Police Chief Rick Edwards said the department has noticed that more drug crimes often lead to more violent crime. Richmond residents voiced their concerns during the meeting after seeing an increase in drug activity on Haines Avenue.

“We see drug activity on the block and they basically take over my front porch,” said one resident at the meeting.

Edwards says the department is looking into this area, as well as the Oak Grove neighborhood along Richmond Highway.

“We’ve seen some open-air drug markets right around there,” said Acting Police Chief Rick Edwards.

Despite making arrests, Richmond Police are hoping their Operation Safe Summer Program, set to roll out on June 10, 2023 in collaboration with Virginia State Police, will help cut down on violence.

So far this year, violent crime is down 7% compared to this time last year. On the other hand, property crime is up 5%. Homicides have also increased compared to this time last year. Right now, the city has seen 29 homicides in 2023, compared to 26 homicides in May 2022.

In addition to Operation Safe Summer, Richmond Police says they need help from the community to solve crime in the city.

“We don’t want to put them in harm’s way, but they can still give us enough information and say, ‘Hey, these are the times we’re seeing drug dealers in our block,’ and then we can work with that,” said Edwards.