Richmond mayor sends out 'plea for peace'

Richmond mayor sends out 'plea for peace'

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Following a weekend of violence in Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney is pushing for changes in the city, including calling on the community to come together for a housing summit.

"My heart sinks every time I receive a phone call from Chief (Alfred) Durham early in the morning," said Stoney, referring to the 46 homicides that have occurred in Richmond this year, including a man who died early Tuesday morning in a shooting that also injured a 9-year-old girl.

This weekend there were also four other shooting deaths in Richmond's Gilpin Court.

On Tuesday, Stoney called for a housing summit on Oct. 31 to discuss new housing and the redevelopment of housing throughout the city.

"It's clear we need a new model of affordable housing in Richmond," Stoney said. "We've known this for decades."

Stoney announced a summit set for October 31st, dedicated to reconfiguring and funding that massive effort. The mayor wants to identify more funding and a long term plan.

In the meantime, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) is cracking down on a watch-list of criminals who shouldn't be in the courts and evicting anyone who helps them stay there.

"We are coming after you. We know who you are. Most of the time, with the help of police, we will start enforcing the lease," said T.K. Somanath, CEO of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham continued to stress his ongoing plea for witnesses of crimes to come forward, saying too many people are staying silent, making it virtually impossible for investigators to make arrests. However, officials admit, they can ultimately never guarantee anyone's safety.

"We relocate people when there are appropriate circumstances to relocate, and we will often support them financially while the case is pending for a period of time after the case has concluded. We can't do that for every person that provides information or every person that comes to court," said Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Herring.

Along with more officers taking on walking beats in the public housing areas, there are also more lights and security cameras being installed.

A car decal program will also start next month to try to help curb random people from staying in those neighborhoods.

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