Community works to tackle crime as AG announces funding to curb violence

Community works to tackle crime as AG announces funding to curb violence

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The community is chiming in on a new plan by the attorney general to give police more resources to keep you safe. Friday, Mark Herring announced a $700,000 federal gr ant to step up patrols across Richmond and create more community policing programs.

Every time a new customer sits in his chair, Alonzo Bates hears personal stories from the streets.

"It always begins in the barber shop," he said.

A whirlwind of violence spreading across the Richmond metro in recent weeks.

The youngest victim, a 1-year-old, was shot and killed when someone opened fire at a home on Fayette Avenue.

"As attorney general, there are times when you're called upon to console family members who have lost a loved one to gun violence," Mark Herring said.

The federal grant is for police to target public housing communities and create outreach and crime prevention programs.

"It's so important to be able to look them in the eye and tell them, 'You're doing everything you can to make sure it doesn't happen to another family in Richmond or anywhere in Virginia,' " Herring added.

Local organization Project Give Back to the Community discussed crime at its monthly barbershop talk. Friday, they held the conversation at 4B Kutz in Henrico.

"You need to learn how to channel that energy for the greater good," Jerry Lee said to young people sitting in the audience.

The former inmate served 23 years in prison. Now he's out encouraging others to avoid the path he took.

"You'll wind up losing your life in two ways, either out there in the street or in prison," Lee said.

A message shared where young men can hear it, the barber shop. So just like the results from a fresh haircut, barbers like Bates are hoping the attorney general's efforts will make a noticeable difference.

"Take all of those funds that they're allocating, take it back to the communities and begin in the homes. More groups that cater to the family. I'm a firm believer if they focus from within, then I think we'd do without a lot of crime," he said.

"Reducing and preventing violence requires an all hands on deck," Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said.

Copyright 2017 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved