Richmond mayor releases new report, efforts to curb gun violence in city
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - This is National Youth Violence Prevention Week, and Richmond leaders are joining in the effort to curb gun violence, after releasing a new report about the ways to prevent shootings locally, especially among young people.
In 2021, Richmond counted 90 homicides, which was the highest in the last decade-and-a-half. A vast majority of those deaths were shootings.
According to the 38-page report, the rate of firearm deaths among young people in Richmond, ages 10 to 24, is more than three times the national rate in 2017. Last year, RPD responded to more than 1,300 reports involving young victims of crime. This was a historic high for the city.
“The biggest pattern is that a lot of these homicides are coming from the students. They’re not coping well. That is tied into mental health issues. You get into an argument with a friend- what do you do? Reach for a gun, reach for a knife, as opposed to using some other kind of coping skills,” Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith said yesterday, during a roundtable discussion after Mayor Levar Stoney released the report and more details on the effort, which as been in the works since 2018.
Multiple community partners, including VCU Health and ChildSavers, are working to find ways to address the root causes of gun violence, including housing, schooling, employment, and health resources.
For example, more focus will be put on hospital crisis intervention, and resources for families, friends, and survivors of gun violence.
Mayor Stoney said that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather that an all-inclusive approach with both the community and police working together would be needed. That, and getting illegal guns off the street.
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