Faith leaders focus on economics to prevent crime - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Faith leaders focus on economics to prevent crime

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

After the deadliest month in years, Richmond Police are regrouping.  They're meeting with the faith-based community to figure out what else can be done to not only solve the 11 September murders, but stop the violence in the first place.

As brutality sweeps through the South Side and East End, NBC12 asked Police Chief Bryan Norwood if he believes this partnership with the faith-based community is still working.

"I think the proof is in the pudding," he responded. "We're talking about people working with us, people talking to us. People having faith in us and I think that effort is yielding some great results in terms of the solvability of these cases."

But that doesn't mean the group isn't doing some rethinking.

Wednesday, Norwood met with a core group of the faith-based community, many of whom are pleased they can help on the back end but also want to know what they can do to prevent these crimes from ever happening.

Even without the organized walk-throughs with police, many faith leaders are hitting the streets. They're out on a regular basis talking with the community.

Dr. Steve Parson of the Richmond Christian Center says the church is all encompassing when it comes to its influence.

"What I found out as a minister is the work of God is not just spiritual," he explained. "It's physical and financial."

As we've reported, the violence is going down in the poorest neighborhoods and that's where this group is now focusing its efforts on the front end.

"We're teaching them to go to school and get an education, not necessarily to go to college, get a degree and get a job, but get the education to learn how to be an entrepreneur and be a business owner," Parson added.

The theory is if there's another avenue to make money, they can resist a life of crime.

"It also allows them to say 'I'm a man. I'm handling my business,'" Youth Minister "C" Calvin Yarbrough told us.

The faith leaders meet with police command staff on a regular basis to get an update on crime in the city and plan neighborhood walks to talk with citizens.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.

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