RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond leaders are working to keep the number of violent crimes down in the city this summer.
Attorney General Mark Herring and Police Chief Alfred Durham announced on Wednesday that they are relaunching the Richmond Campaign after last year's success.
"All across the country, urban areas are facing this epidemic, this gun crisis," said Chief Alfred Durham.
Richmond Police and the Attorney General's Office are looking to fight that crisis with the "Respect Richmond" anti-violence campaign.
"This is another tool in our toolbox," said Durham.
Herring and the city of Richmond started the six-month campaign last year. It uses social media ads to send messages to the community before the crimes happen.
"Whether you call it copying or following or just doing what you see others around you do, violence is contagious," said Herring.
During the summer, it can spread even faster.
"Here in the city, crime increases in the summer," said Durham. "Folks get agitated with the heat, and we see it year after year after year."
They are fighting that trend with the campaign after last year's success.
"It showed an initial drop in violent crime and gun crime," said Herring.
The attorney general says the proof is in the numbers. During that six-month period, aggravated assault cases decreased by 47 percent in Gilpin Court. In Creigton Court, the number of people shot fell by 71 percent, and in Mosby Court, there was a 75 percent decrease in homicides compared to that same time frame in 2016.
"Now I want to be clear - I'm not here to say 'Respect Richmond' is responsible for all of that," said Herring.
But Richmond Police say it played a big part, along with the increase in community involvement.
"When these type of violent crimes happen in our community, people are getting fed up," said Durham. "They are going to start talking now."
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