Program to curb gun violence lands nearly $700K grant - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Program to curb gun violence lands nearly $700K grant

(Source: NBC12) (Source: NBC12)
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The partnership between the state Attorney General's Office and the city of Richmond -- known as "Respect Richmond" -- has landed nearly $700,000 in federal grants to help reduce gun and gang violence. 

The program, which launched in late September, uses advertising across multiple platforms to reach residents who are more likely to experience violent crime. 

"We know that violence in Richmond, as in many cities, is geographically concentrated and driven by a relatively small number of individuals," said Attorney General Herring on Friday. "This grant is going to allow my team and the RPD to focus more resources on those areas and individuals who are most likely to cause or contribute to violence in the city."

Mayor Levar Stoney says fighting crime in the city "requires an all hands on deck, multi-pronged approach."

The ads in the program can be targeted to an audience based on demographics, location, and trends in someone’s digital footprint. For example, a video can play before a music download site or page that police say Richmond residents use often.

If a shooting breaks out, these messages can be pinpointed to a quarter mile surrounding that incident. Facebook and YouTube will be the apps used most in the campaign.

A similar program in Norfolk helped reduce that city's violent crime by 17 percent, the Attorney General's Office said. 

"It is especially gratifying that in addition to providing funds for extra police patrols, Mr. Herring's plan also includes support for additional elements of the criminal justice system - from providing assistance with prosecuting the individuals we arrest to its focus on gang-related violence to doing research into the effectiveness of this innovative campaign," said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham.

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