Police Chief says major crime is up compared to last year
‘Your vehicle is more likely to be victimized than you are’
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond’s Police Chief has a blunt assessment of current crime trends in the city during a second-quarter crime briefing on Monday.
This update came after two deadly double shootings within days of each other.
One from Thursday when a man and woman were found shot inside a vehicle on Forest Hill Avenue. The woman died from her injuries, and a suspect has been arrested.
The other happened on Saturday, less than a mile away. Two more people were shot near the Belt Atlantic Apartment Complex.
A 31-year-old man was killed, and a second person is expected to survive.
Chief Smith announced that overall major crime is up by about 28% compared to last year.
Larcenies are up 33%, while vehicle thefts have seen a 31% jump.
“We’re talking about your vehicle being more likely to be victimized than you are here in the City of Richmond,” said Chief Gerald Smith, Richmond Police Dept.
The chief says the surge in crime is due to people stealing packages from porches and guns from cars.
“The middle console is not a place you store your gun. We have seen where people are now just checking for the unlocked door, go inside to see if there’s a gun inside, and they are being successful,” said Chief Smith.
Police say they’ve taken 532 firearms off city streets.
Meanwhile, the homicide rate remains flat.
Mayor Levar Stoney says the homicide rate is down, but the city is not exempt from the rise in gun violence across the country.
So far, 31 people have been killed in Richmond this year.
Aggravated assaults are up 11%, while robberies are down about 18%.
Chief Smith is also defending Operation Red Ball, a program to prevent violent crime and those illegally possessing firearms.
“It’s not about race. We address criminal behavior,” said Chief Smith.
Operation Red Ball started in November 2021 after two children were gunned down outside a store on Nine Mile Road.
The department says a total of 177 arrests have been made through the operation; 43% of those individuals have no association with government housing, 14% are connected to Hillside, 13% Mosby, 9% Uptown and 5% Belt Atlantic.
“When we go back, and we look at the evidence and the data, the 2% of land mass that accounted for the 26% of violent crime for over the five last years has been in some of those housing projects.”
Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.
Want NBC12’s top stories in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.