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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


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Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
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~ 3 year, $1 million project will support the development and execution of a community-driven plan to reduce crime, improve health, education, and economic outcomes, and strengthen the Gilpin Court neighborhood ~

RICHMOND (November 13, 2018)—Attorney General Mark R. Herring and community partners today announced the launch of Greater Gilpin, a $1 million, three year community-based and community-driven initiative to reduce gun violence and make Gilpin Court safer, while lifting up the Gilpin community and providing more opportunities for residents. The initiative brings together an incredibly diverse set of community stakeholders to identify the most effective strategies and programs to reduce crime, increase trust between the community and law enforcement, improve quality of life for residents, and spur economic development and activity. Gilpin Court has frequently been one of the communities in Richmond most affected by violent crime and experienced a rise in violent crimes from 2014-2016.


“Greater Gilpin is going to be a really unique community-driven approach to strengthening a neighborhood that deserves a hand up,” said Attorney General Herring. “Instead of a top-down approach that tries to tell Gilpin what it needs, we’re going to bring together everyone who cares about this community and who has good ideas to reduce crime, strengthen the neighborhood, and improve quality of life for Gilpin residents, especially young people. Greater Gilpin is going to reduce crime and make Gilpin Court safer by taking a more holistic approach and attacking the factors we know contribute to higher rates of crime, like poverty, drug use, limited educational or job opportunities, and poor health.We’re going to keep Gilpin residents at the heart of our efforts, and work together to strengthen the community in a sustainable way.”


“Building stronger, safer communities means addressing the underlying factors that can contribute to violence and violent crime,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “This initiative will build on the strengths of the community and empower Gilpin residents to have a say and a stake in the future of their neighborhood. The city’s previous collaborations with the Attorney General show that we know how to be creative, innovative, and inclusive in finding solutions to the challenges we face, and I believe Greater Gilpin will produce similar successes.”


Greater Gilpin will bring together a diverse set of community leaders, organizations, and stakeholders to identify and implement programs and initiatives to achieve four main objectives:

  • Objective 1—Reduce homicides in Gilpin by 50 percent over the next three years


  • Objective 2—Reduce the number of violent gun crimes by 25 percent over the next three years through innovative community policing strategies


  • Objective 3—Increase the trust and improve the relationship between members of the community and the law enforcement officers who serve them


  • Objective 4—Increase the rate of employment by 10 percent for youths and adults


“To be successful, programs and interventions like this must be locally conceived and grounded in the wealth of knowledge, experience, and determination that exists within our communities,” said Lillie A. Estes, Community Strategist and resident of Gilpin Court. “I’m very excited about the great opportunity community members have to really co-vision and co-create the transformative changes we need for our community. This will be a participatory decision making process, and my hope is that we hold space for the community to step into the decision making process.”


Gilpin Court is Richmond’s oldest and largest public housing neighborhood, with approximately 2,700 residents occupying 781 housing units. The neighborhood has many of the distress indicators that are commonly associated with higher crime rates including:

  • Low household incomes—The median income in Gilpin is about $9,800 compared to a citywide median of about $41,200, and about 85% of residents fall behold the federal poverty threshold.


  • Economic prospects—The unemployment rate in Gilpin is about 30%, more than three times the citywide rate of about 9.1% reported in the 2016 American Community Survey.


  • Educational attainment—Sixty-four percent of Gilpin residents have completed high schools, compared to 84% citywide.


  • Poor health indicators—Forty-eight percent of residents are identified as obese compared to 32% citywide, and 16% is diagnosed with diabetes compared to about 10% citywide.


  • Physical and social isolation—The community is bound by interstates 64 and 95, physically separating the community from job, educational, and social opportunities, including the revitalization of nearby Richmond neighborhoods.


Greater Gilpin will pair evidence-based law enforcement strategies with community-driven initiatives to address these and other known risk factors for crime in order to reduce rates of violent crime, expand opportunity, and strengthen the neighborhood and its residents.


The program will also build on the strengths of the community. The school enrollment rate for children age 3-17 exceeds the citywide average, and about half of the residents of Gilpin are under 25, meaning there is a real opportunity to help a huge number of young people chart their own course in life, make their lives better for themselves and their families, and make their neighborhood and community safer.


“This initiative brings together residents and stakeholders in the neighborhood to create community led solutions to reduce violent crime”, said Orlando Artze, Interim CEO of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “Only when residents are engaged and take full ownership of those efforts can lasting change be achieved.”


As part of the project, the Office of Attorney General will hire a fulltime project coordinator who will work out of the Calhoun Family Investment Center, an important community cornerstone and hub of activity in Gilpin Court. The OAG will also partner with the VCU Center for Urban and Regional analysis to ensure a data-driven approach to developing programs and initiatives and measuring their effectiveness.


One lasting impact of the grant will be stronger connections between community organizations who may have been working independently from one another to serve Gilpin residents and strengthen the community. Attorney General Herring and his team are increasing the collective impact of these organizations’ work and expanding the opportunities for mutual support and collaboration by bringing together a diverse set of community stakeholders and partners to work on Greater Gilpin, including:

  • Attorney General Mark R. Herring
  • The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Richmond Police Department
  • The Carol Adams Foundation
  • STEP (Strategies to Elevate People)
  • Charles S. Gilpin Community Garden Farm
  • Richmond Food Justice Alliance
  • RVA League for Safer Streets
  • Inspire Workgroup
  • ALO Community Strategy
  • LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation)


The Greater Gilpin initiative will be funded by a $1 million federal grant from the Department of Justice’s Community-Based Crime Reduction (CBCR) program.


Previous violence reduction efforts led by Attorney General Herring have shown significant results in Richmond and Norfolk. A multiyear gun violence reduction project in Norfolk saw a 19% reduction in violent crimes and a 25% reduction in homicides. Over the last year, two phases of the Respect Richmond campaign contributed to a 50% decrease in homicides, and an average decrease of 30% in violent crimes in priority neighborhoods.



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