Richmond's Police chief briefed city council on crime statistics for the year so far, after a violent few weeks.
Chief Ray Tarasovic had both good news and bad news. On the positive side, overall crime in the city for this year is down 5.3%. Richmond is seeing some increases in some unsettling categories. Violent crime is up 9% so far this year.
The presentation brought some biting comments from council members to the city's top cop.
"Let me just say, the citizens do not feel safe in our city," Councilwoman Reva Trammell asserted.
There have been 14 murders so far this year, including seven in the particularly deadly month of May.
"Each one of those 14, we had to notify someone's parent, someone's loved one," Tarasovic explained. "If the number were one, I would find it intolerable."
The chief's discussion comes as his officers are investigating the latest crime in Shockoe Bottom. The violation adds to the robbery category that is up 28% year.
Around 2:15 Monday morning, suspects fired shots during an incident in the parking lot at 15th and East Cary Streets.
"We heard bang, bang, bang, bang, bang," Josie Hazzouri, who lives nearby, recalled.
Several cars in the lot had bullet holes in them. Even the Buffalo Wild Wings across the street had damage. A bullet pierced the window, went through the dining room and lodged in a wall on the other side.
This is the second armed robbery in less than a week at that parking lot. Wednesday, two people were held up at gunpoint, but there were no shots fired.
"I rarely see police officers, which I thought maybe was a good thing that we don't need them, that's why they're not around, but obviously we do need them," Hazzouri added. "So it would just be nice to maybe have some extra police protection."
Chief Tarasovic told council members his Fugitive and Firearms Initiative, which started on the 15th, considers more than location and increased patrols to get a handle on this trend.
"With robbery we have to be in the right place, but even more importantly we have to target the right people," the chief said.
The initiative targets people who are likely to commit these types of offenses and works to get them off the streets. It is scheduled to go through the fall.
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