"More needs to be done," Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones told a gathering of media Tuesday. A press briefing in the morning was the first time the community heard from he and Police Chief Ray Tarasovic after a violent weekend in the city.
The mayor and police chief say Richmond cannot give into violence. 48 Hours in the city saw five shootings including two homicides and the wounding of a 23-month-old girl. She is the third child shot just this year.
"No child should grow up gathering memories of being shot in their neighborhood," Jones exclaimed. "This is unacceptable and I'm outraged. As a matter of fact, all of us should be outraged."
Outrage should lead to action. Jones and Chief Tarasovic explained several initiatives they're working on to make the city safer, including intensifying community policing, bringing back sector meetings and getting illegal guns off the streets.
Right now, the numbers don't look good. Crime is up 2% this year. So far, there have been twenty homicides. This time last year, we were only at 13. Police have cleared nine of the twenty, which is less than 50%.
"If that community support starts to wane than it is my job and it is our job to reinstill in that community a trust of us," Tarasovic maintained.
The mayor says he's asked the police chief to call him when any major crimes occur in the city. He explains he was notified Sunday night when the 23-month-old was shot on Harwood Street.
We wanted to know if there is a reason why the community didn't hear from him before Tuesday.
"Well, I believe that everybody has their role to play and I think that crime scenes are designed for the police," Jones responded.
Some have said this is more than a police problem. We asked Jones why only Richmond Police command staff was on hand for the press briefing and not other agencies he is asking to combat social ills that might cause some of the issues.
"We have our first individual who is dealing with poverty in the city, dealing with the issues that relate to housing patterns, that relate to transportation, that relate to education," he explained.
That person's first day on the job was Monday.
Jones believes they need the public's help, as well. Officials want Richmonders to get to know patrol officers, engage young people and attend those sector meetings. When we asked how police will reach citizens who don't want to participate, Tarasovic said RPD will knock on every door during walk-throughs, even those of people who aren't stepping up.
Police have not made arrests in any of the three shootings in which children were hit. If you know anything about the incidents, call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.
Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:44:38 GMT
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