Mayor, law enforcement comment on deadliest month since '06 - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Mayor, law enforcement comment on deadliest month since '06

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Tuesday, the mayor, police chief and commonwealth's attorney sent a warning to criminals in response to the 11 killings last month.

Now, you'll see an increased police presence around the city. As part of that, you won't only notice Richmond Police officers, but partners from state, federal and nearby jurisdictions.

Tuesday, they focused on Oak Grove near the Blackwell and Hillside Court neighborhoods, where we've seen a lot of that recent violence.

Chief Bryan Norwood gave words of reassurance to Richmonders living in fear after the deadliest month since January of 2006.

"They have a right to be scared, but we are here," he said. "We are here and we're not going anywhere to make sure that they are safe."

On the positive side: of the eleven homicides last month, six have been cleared. Five people have been arrested and a warrant has been issued for another suspect. Police have a clearance rate of 77 percent for all homicides this year. That's above the national average of 64 percent.

"We want those who are perpetuating these crimes to know that you will not get away," Mayor Dwight Jones exclaimed. "If you do these things you will be caught. You will be prosecuted."

The bad news might be of more concern. In terms of motive, there's no common thread or one area for police to focus on. We're told some killings were so-called "interpersonal beefs," some dealt with robberies and others may have been related to drug activity.

"What we aren't seeing is enough of a correlation for us to get ahead of it, predict the pattern and intercept it before it happens," Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Herring explained.

Most of the homicides have occurred in some of the city's poorest neighborhoods. The mayor says they are working on an administrative front, as well, to attempt to mitigate those poverty levels.

Authorities acknowledged Tuesday, for many, the recent violence stirs up bad memories of when Richmond was known as the murder capital of the south.

"We will not return to those ugly designations," Herring added. "Too much has come along in the city by way of police work, the relationship between the commonwealth's attorney's office and the police department and indeed the strides the city has taken."

When asked if he still has confidence in the police chief, the mayor noted the accelerated clearance rate, and said "our police are doing a great job and the chief is leading the police department."

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