RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After the city of Richmond saw its 30th homicide of this year, the Richmond Police Department is preparing to get ahead of violent crime with the help of multiple agencies.
This time last year, the city had seen 27 homicides. Acting Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards told 8News the department has investigated 30 homicides so far in 2023.
“30 murders is 30 too many. I don’t care what the number is,” said Edwards.
After a five-year hiatus, the department is getting ready to bring back what it calls Operation Safe Summer, with the intention of cracking down on gun violence.
With the help of Virginia State Police, the FBI, the US Marshal Service and other government agencies, Richmond Police aims to stop what it calls the drivers of crime, which includes repeat offenders.
“Everyone knows we’re short-staffed, that’s not a secret. But when we work together, when we work with a plan, I think we can still have a great impact and have a safer summer than we would otherwise,” said Edwards.
The department also plans to implement a proactive approach by distributing gun safes to encourage families to lock up their firearms. In addition, the community will start to see a number of youth-focused events to keep kids off the streets.
8News spoke with Councilmember Ann-Frances Lambert who says this is an initiative that is needed but can’t be complete without the help from the community.
“Don’t talk about it, be about it. We have to be more proactive and get away from the fact of not being able to say and be a witness,” said Lambert.