Neighbors in Richmond's Fan District encouraged to be vigilant

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Take action! That's the message to residents in Richmond's Fan district. This comes after a string of street robberies in the area over the past several weeks.

The robberies have happened at different times of the day from 7:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. They've taken place in several areas of the Fan, including Vine Street, Park Avenue, and Stuart Circle. The victims were almost always walking alone.

Now, the Fan District Association has sent out an e-mail to neighbors in response to the crimes. The message, be street smart!

"When you're walking around just keep your eye out for individuals that might look threatening to you and to walk in pairs if you can," said Calder Loth.

Loth is a board member with the association. He's lived in the Fan for more than 40 years.

"We hope this is just an abnormal situation because until now I've not felt threatened, said Loth.

Since January, there have been seven street robberies in the Fan. During one of the crimes a man with a gun took a purse and during another robbery the victim was thrown to the ground -- his wallet was taken.

One of the victims is an acquaintance of Carmen Wong.

"We were a little frightened. When I heard I was like wow because it happened right down the street from our block," said Wong.

Last week, police made an arrest in some of the crimes. Right now, it's unclear if all the robberies are related.

"We'd like people who are criminals to be apprehended and we want stepped up surveillance," said Loth.

He and others want neighbors to be on alert for any suspicious behavior and to keep their porch lights on during the evening and overnight.

"Because that increases the lights on the street and around the houses," said Loth.

Richmond Police are picking up patrols in the Fan. They've also teamed up with VCU Officers to expand the number of areas in the fan under surveillance.

If you have information on any of the robberies you can call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000. You can also text crime stoppers at 274637. Both options are anonymous.

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