Richmond Police try to stop teen parties before they start

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond Police are cracking down on teen parties that have led to recent violence. Police Chief Bryan Norwood detailed a new partnership that enables officials to stop these events before they even begin, or at least make them safer.

Risqué fliers for these teen parties show the names of several local high schools. The events target teenagers.

Chief Bryan Norwood said the goal of the new initiative is not to stop the fun, but to make sure those parties don't end in a scenes that include crime scene tape and detectives.

Much of the focus has turned to prevention. The Richmond Police Department is working with CAPS, or Community Assisted Public Safety, to shut down an unsafe party situation before it even starts. CAPS looks at the buildings where these parties are held, not the people who are throwing them.

"We're looking at whether they've paid their taxes, their meals taxes, admission taxes, if they have a business license, if they're even zoned for the activities that are being held there," said program manager Cindy Moser

CAPS inspectors shut down teen parties for good at 1517 West Broad Street when they found fire, property maintenance and zoning violations. Another teen party was scheduled at 209 North Foushee, but inspectors realized the occupancy wasn't sufficient to have parties.

When the locations pass muster, like Element Lounge in the Bottom has, police try to ensure everyone makes it home safely.

"If we know when the party is going to take place and it's legal and sanctioned, we can allocate resources and make sure that when the young people leave the party, we have the adequate resources out there to help mitigate any circumstances that may happen," said Chief Norwood.

In the past couple weeks, CAPS performed nine inspections on proposed party locations. More than half of those events were canceled due to violations.

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