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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Director of Communication
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
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~ Herring has asked for funds to be included in the introduced budget to allow the OAG to do community-based gun violence prevention work in communities across the Commonwealth most impacted by gun violence; Herring will also host roundtables across Virginia to speak with local community leaders, law enforcement, and advocates about programs that will help their communities ~

RICHMOND(July 29, 2021)– Ahead of next week’s special legislative session, Attorney General Mark R. Herring is asking that funds be included in the introduced budget that will allow the Office of Attorney General to implement community-based gun violence prevention programs across the Commonwealth in communities that have been most impacted by gun violence. These programs will be based on highly successful gun violence reduction programs that have already been used by Attorney General Herring’s office. Attorney General Herring is proposing that $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan be used for staff to implement each program and contractual work with law enforcement agencies and local community organizations to support officers who are assigned to these projects. Additionally, Attorney General Herring is planning to host roundtables across the Commonwealth to hear from law enforcement, advocates, and community leaders about what their communities need to combat gun violence and violent crime.


Previous violence reduction efforts led by Attorney General Herring’s office 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. Additionally, two phases of a similar campaign in Richmond contributed to a 50% decrease in homicides, and an average decrease of 30% in violent crimes in priority neighborhoods.


“Gun violence and violent crime continue to plague communities across the Commonwealth and these community-based programs have proven to reduce gun violence and other violent crimes in the communities where they are implemented,” said Attorney General Herring. “Just one act of gun violence can cause a devastating ripple effect throughout a community, which is why programs that work to stop this cycle of violence before it starts are so crucial. As attorney general, it is my responsibility to keep Virginians, their families, and their communities safe, and that means tackling gun violence and violent crime head on through a comprehensive, effective approach.”


Through these community-based programs, Attorney General Herring and his team will work with local law enforcement, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and gun violence prevention advocates to reduce gun violence and other violent crime through a combination of outreach, prevention, intervention, and evidence-based practices. These efforts will utilize the same approach modeled after an award-winning program that was a partnership between the Office of Attorney General and the City of Richmond, and a similar program implemented in Norfolk.


These proven-effective community-based gun violence reduction and prevention programs directly reach those most likely to commit or be a victim of gun violence with direct anti-violence, anti-retaliatory messaging. Because most violent crime is committed by a small portion of the population, the approach used in these programs centers around identifying priority areas and individuals most likely to contribute to violence and then responding with prevention, intervention, or enforcement.


As part of these programs, the Office of Attorney General, partner law enforcement agencies, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, and gun violence prevention advocates will conduct an intensive outreach and violence prevention program led by dedicated staff, who will build on recent outreach programs to provide educational programs and development opportunities for at-risk children in priority areas over the next year. These efforts will include education and prevention programs in conjunction with law enforcement, the local housing associations, tenant associations, faith-based organizations, non-profits, and more.


While these programs will emphasize prevention and intervention tactics, the Office of Attorney General will also work with Commonwealth’s Attorneys offices and make resources available where needed to assist in supporting communities’ public safety goals. 



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