RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – According to Richmond Police, the department has investigated 24 shootings and 11 homicides since August 15. The recent uptick in violence is drawing concern from both city leaders and residents.
The latest shooting turned into a death investigation, as officers responded to Halifax Avenue and Midland Street around noon Wednesday following gunfire. There, two men were shot at the intersection, with one later dying from his injuries. The second shooting victim remains hospitalized at VCU Medical Center fighting for his life.
Reva Trammell represents the 8th district where the most recent death occurred. Trammell, also the Chair for the Richmond Public Safety Committee, told 8News “enough is enough.”
“I think it’s horrible,” she said. “I think it’s… I don’t have words to describe. My heart goes out to all the families that have lost their family members, their loved ones to the senseless shootings in our city.”
Keith Moore lives in the area and said he’s concerned about his safety.
“Why is there so much violence? Why can’t we get along?” Moore said. “I sense a lot of danger, it’s not happening directly to me, but I see it and hear it and it makes me a little paranoid.”
Trammell said her constituents have noticed less police patrol on the streets and wants to see more community policing.
“These are elderly seniors that are saying we go out on our porch for a little while and we don’t see the officers like we used to,” she added. “They used to ride by and wave to us.”
Trammel said the lack of police in sight could be leading to the uptick in criminal activity.
“Someone is sending out the wrong message that you can do the crime in the city and not be prosecuted for it and you’re not going to be arrested because there’s not enough officers,” Trammell said.
Councilwoman Kim Gray echoed the message.
“If there are no consequences, if there are no officers on the ground being seen walking around in our communities, people feel more apt to act out on criminal activities if they don’t believe there will be a consequence,” Gray said. “There’s an overall feeling throughout the city that people aren’t being protected.”
Gray is also the vice-chair of the Richmond Public Safety Committee.
“I think many of these instances could be avoidable if we have solid, on the ground community policing,” Gray said. “It is impossible for police to be at more than one place at one time so communities who are experiencing these violent acts are not getting the fastest response times and the best policing possible because the resources are being spread so thin.”
Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith recently released a statement on Facebook that said, in part:
“The Police Department cannot fight this fight alone. When we get there, the deed is done. We are there to solve the crime and try to help pick up the pieces. There’s still a pandemic going on. People are stressed. Tensions can boil over. But taking another person’s life is not the answer.”
“We need to restore trust so that people are talking to law enforcement on the ground and letting them know where there might be trouble spots,” she said. “So they can get in front of things and avoid extreme acts of violence.”