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Image of the Virginia AG Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Lara Sisselman, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING AND CITY OF RICHMOND PARTNER FOR NEW VIOLENCE REDUCTION INITIATIVE

~ Federal grants will allow for strategic proactive patrols, along with intensive outreach and prevention efforts in areas affected by gun violence, including Richmond's public housing communities ~

RICHMOND(October 13, 2017)-Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Richmond Police Department (RPD) have partnered to secure nearly $700,000 in federal grants to reduce gun and gang violence in the city of Richmond. Using a combination of outreach, prevention, strategic prosecutions, and evidence-based policing, Attorney General Herring and RPD will seek to drive down violent crime, shootings, and gun homicides in Richmond. The partnership will focus its efforts on areas that have been identified through "risk terrain modeling" and "crime mapping" technology to be more likely to experience violent crime, including Richmond's public housing communities. The grant will allow for more directed proactive patrols in these areas to prevent and deter crime and strengthen relationships with the community. This effort will complement the "Respect Richmond" campaign that Attorney General Herring and the City of Richmond recently launched to directly target those most likely to commit or be a victim of gun violence with direct anti-violence, anti-retaliatory messaging.

 

"We know that violence in Richmond, as in many cities, is geographically concentrated and driven by a relatively small number of individuals," said Attorney General Herring. "This grant is going to allow my team and the RPD to focus more resources on those areas and individuals who are most likely to cause or contribute to violence in the city. We're going to work with our partners at RPD to deploy smart, data-driven enforcement strategies, along with intensive outreach, education, and prevention efforts aimed at strengthening the Richmond community and preventing violence in the first place. We know that Mayor Stoney, City Council, Chief Durham and his officers are all committed to making every neighborhood in Richmond a safe place to live, work, and raise a family, and I'm proud to support them in their efforts."

 

"Reducing and preventing violence requires an all hands on deck, multi-pronged approach that needs to include creative strategies to reach at-risk individuals in our community, along with smart, tough law enforcement strategies," said Mayor Levar M. Stoney. "Our successful grant proposal is going to help us prevent crime, strengthen the ties between our officers and our neighborhoods, and hopefully save lives."

 

"We are pleased that Attorney General Mark Herring has secured this additional funding and offered targeted support for the Richmond Police Department in our on-going effort to reduce violent crime in the city," said Richmond Police Department Chief Alfred Durham. "It is especially gratifying that in addition to providing funds for extra police patrols, Mr. Herring's plan also includes support for additional elements of the criminal justice system - from providing assistance with prosecuting the individuals we arrest to its focus on gang-related violence to doing research into the effectiveness of this innovative campaign. Recently, we joined with the Attorney General and Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring in the anti-violence public awarness campaign called 'Respect Richmond.' These additional grants will provide a much-needed, much-appreciated boost to that campaign. Let's get started!"

 

This new violence reduction project will utilize an approach that OAG and the Norfolk Police Department have used to help reduce crime in Norfolk by 15%, reduce violent crime by 17%, and reduce property crime by 14% through a combination of directed patrols, community engagement, and intervention. Because the majority of violent crime is committed by a small number of individuals, the approach centers around identifying the areas and individuals most likely to contribute to violence and then responding with prevention, intervention, or enforcement.

 

Grant funds will allow RPD to assign more officers to directed proactive patrols in areas that have been identified as likely to experience violent crime because of factors like street configuration, lighting and visibility impediments, previous criminal activity, vacant buildings, or businesses known to be patronized by gang members. RPD will be able to assign even more officers to those areas, creating a crime deterrent effect through increased visibility and stronger relationships with community members.

 

OAG will also make prosecutors available to assist RPD and the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney if such support and assistance is requested. Attorney General Herring has built a team of regional prosecutors around the state who can work in state and federal court to support communities' public safety goals. This collaboration between OAG prosecutors and local law enforcement and prosecutors has been used effectively in Hampton Roads to get the most dangerous and violent individuals off the streets.

 

At the same time, OAG and RPD will be conducting an intensive outreach and violence prevention program led by a community outreach coordinator who will build on a recent pilot partnership between OAG and RPD that provided educational programs and development opportunities for at-risk children in Richmond over the summer. This effort will complement the Respect Richmond campaign and will include education and prevention programs in conjunction with RPD, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Association (RRHA), the RRHA Tenants Association, faith-based organizations, non-profits, and more.

 

OAG and RPD will also contract with a professional researcher to study the partnership's effectiveness in reducing gun violence and violent crime in the city.

This new anti-violence initiative will be supported by $695,000 in federal grants--a $570,000 Project Safe Neighborhood grant awarded to OAG, and a $125,000 Byrne/JAG Grant awarded to Richmond Police. The two agencies collaborated closely to prepare the applications for the grants and will be working together to implement them.

 

Previously, Attorney General Herring, the City of Richmond, and RPD launched "Respect Richmond," a new multifaceted anti-violence campaign aimed at intervening in the behaviors and decision-making process of those most likely to commit an act of gun violence or be a victim of gun violence. The campaign will target direct anti-violence and anti-retaliatory messages via digital and traditional mediums based on law enforcement intelligence.

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