‘It’s not going to be business as usual’: RRHA CEO speaks out after uptick in violence

RRHA CEO vows to make changes after shootings

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The new CEO of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority says his number one goal is to make sure those he serves remain safe.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Damon Duncan said.

Damon Duncan stepped into the role of CEO of the RRHA roughly three months ago.

“It’s not a secret that the properties are in very bad condition,” Duncan said.

Duncan is working on a five-year plan that would redesign the properties, but something he’s working on now is the violence.

“There’s been an uptick but violence is down compared to violence last year. We get those weekly from RPD,” Duncan said.

The numbers are still alarming.

There have been 18 shootings across Richmond in just seven days, several of them happening near public housing properties.

“What we are finding by in large and it’s no secret that a lot of the crime that’s being perpetrated Is being perpetrated by none residents,” Duncan said.

Duncan is working with the newly appointed Police Chief, William Smith, to make a change

“Probably the most important partnership an agency like the housing authority can have is with the local police department,” Duncan said.

A new addition is on the way.

“We are on the cusp of hiring a director of safety who will be a liaison with the local police department,” Duncan said.

Smith and Duncan held a community walk earlier in the week.

Getting out and into the community is something Duncan values.

“The importance of us being out in the community and showing our faces is primarily residents need to know we care about the conditions,” Duncan said.

“They see familiar faces and they know these guys have proven over the years we just need to get the agency pointed in the right direction. That collective and I think we can start to gain the confidence of the residence,” Duncan said.

As the temperatures and violence rises, Duncan’s hope is to provide a safe place for his residents.

“We are still committed to providing the best quality housing that we can provide currently,” Duncan said.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.