RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - This month marks year one on the job for Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham, who is pledging to put a heavy focus on tackling gun violence in the coming year.
"One year! Does it feel like that? No, not at all," Chief Durham said. "How do you say... funny how time flies when you are having fun."
The chief says his number one challenge is gun violence in the city.
He says 169 people were wounded by gunfire in 2015. 35 out of 39 homicides were victims of gun violence. "It's just unacceptable," Chief Durham added. "We are going to send a message. We are looking for you."
800 illegal guns were snatched off the streets in the last year alone. "Is Richmond safe?" we asked Chief Durham. "Richmond is safe, and you look at the majority of the crimes. It's folks who know folks or who are involved in some type of criminal activity, unfortunately," the chief said in response.
As a matter of fact, the chief said violent crime is down 12 percent. "The men and women of the Richmond Police Department... every day, they go out and they give it their all," Chief Durham said.
However, the chief said he can't forget the officers shot in the line of duty this past year, and cases like 12-year-old Amiya Moses shot by a stray bullet in her front yard.
That's why come March 1, he is launching a new firearm tip reward program called GUN250. You can get $250 if you text in tips that lead to illegal guns being removed from the streets.
"Folks are just tired of the violence in their neighborhoods, but with this, anyway we can get we need to get it. If we need to pay for it, we'll play for it," Chief Durham said.
The chief said violent crime is at its lowest level in 45 years, but he said more needs to be done.
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