Authorities blitz public housing in effort to curb crime

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond officers and housing authority police are cracking down on criminal activity in the city's housing projects.

The two agencies banded together this week and served about thirty warrants.

The mission is appropriately named "Operation Arrest Bad Guys."

That's exactly what officers did, making two arrests and getting warrants for people who have committed crimes like selling drugs and robbery.

Police even seized marijuana, heroin and cocaine as evidence.

For residents in Richmond's housing projects, life isn't exactly easy.

One woman, too afraid to reveal her identity, could only describe a typical day in Whitcomb Court as violent.

"Gunshots," she said. "Gunshots, arguing and fighting."

She fears for the safety of the five children she's raising in an area where police lights are a common sight.

"It's not good. It's not safe," she said. "My kids don't go outside. I don't think they've been outside since we've been living here but a couple of times. I could count on my hand probably."

She hopes the recent efforts by police and the housing authority might allow her to change that trend.

In three days Richmond police along with housing authority officers issued ten felony warrants, ten misdemeanor warrants and nine traffic summons.

Some arrests were also made.

19-year-old Marcus Redd of Richmond was apprehended on two felony burglary warrants.

A Norfolk man, 34-year-old Andre Smith, was arrested on several local charges including false information and also faces charges from Norfolk and New York.

But it's the drug activity that most concerns Cora Shearn.

She's lived near Whitcomb Court for 50 years and says she never forgets to lock her car doors while driving.

"When you go up the street, through the project, you feel like somebody is watching you," she said.

Shearn attends the Pilgrim Baptist Church, which has been in this area for more than a hundred years.

Deacon Kevin Harris does outreach in the community but says it's helpful to have authorities on his side.

"Hopefully it will let the people who are doing the wrong things, the bad things, know that the police are watching them and you need to change your act and do something different," he said.

This particular operation spanned Whitcomb, Gilpin and Fairfield Courts.

Police tell us they're hoping to bring additional charges in several of these cases.

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