RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As we've reported, the citywide murder rate is consistently rising, but in a section of Richmond notorious for violence, there's been a quiet spell. In the last 107 days, police have not added one name from the East End to the 2009 murder list.
Alphonse Richard Taylor is very familiar with the violence that has plagued the City's East End. In fact, he's only been out of jail for eleven months. This will be the first Thanksgiving in a very long time; he'll be on the other side of the bars. He says the quiet spell is one of the many things he's thankful for.
"Awesome is the word! I'm gonna use that word. That's awesome!" he said.
Police haven't investigated a murder here since 23-year old Leeshaun Bynum was shot to death inside a home on Rosetta Street. That was all the way back on August 9.
"The community is beginning to come together and listen to one another. The good elements and the bad elements is kind of coming together because people want peace within the community," said Taylor.
Taylor sees the changes with his own eyes, as he and other ex-cons try to be part of the solution, instead of the problem.
"Guys like myself have been going in the community and speaking to the different elements in the community and saying 'wake up!'" he said.
It's a wake up call Alice Harris hasn't seen in the thirty years she's lived in the East End.
"When I lived in the Chimborazo area, it was really, you know, some nights you had to get on the floor because the gunshots would be so rampant," she said.
She remembers being afraid to leave her home at night, even go to church. Now Harris says she sees more police cruisers than so-called thugs hitting the streets.
She warns the younger generation, "You also need to get involved in your community to find out what improvements you can do to better where you live."
There's more good news. Car break-ins have also gone down in that last 100 days in the City's East End. Residents say they would like to see some progress, though, when it comes to street robberies. There have been five more incidents this year than in that same time last year.