Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mayor Comments on Spike in City Homicides


~ Community policing lauded for quick clearance rate~

RICHMOND, VA. – During a media briefing today concerning the homicide rate in the city of Richmond, Mayor Dwight C. Jones issued the following statement:

“In September we had eleven (11) homicides in our city – the highest that we’ve seen in a month since 2006. (There were 12 in 2006.) While we are always attentive and concerned about crime, the fact that we haven’t seen double-digit homicides within a single month for quite some time is of great concern. We are tracking at a pace that indicates we will likely see an increase in our overall annual homicide rate by the end of this year. Even as we continue to address these crimes, there are few things that I want to point out.

“The increase in homicides that we’ve seen does not appear to be related to any organized gang or drug activity. We see no common thread in the events of the past month. Our overall violent crime activity to date has actually decreased (down 4%), but our homicide rate is up following this recent spike. For homicides and other violent crimes, we are seeing a quick response from law enforcement – in some cases we are on the scene within one minute. Also, the clearance rate for these crimes is strong – of the eleven in the month of September, six (6) have already been cleared with arrest or warrants on file. Two of those instances were even cleared within the same day. So we are present and responding in an effective fashion.

“Our overall clearance rate for the year at this time is 77% - higher than the national average of 64%. Credit for this strong response goes to the men and women of the Richmond Police Department, but also to the residents of Richmond who have taken a stand against crime and joined forces with the police. We are calling on the public to continue to cooperate with us in solving these crimes. Knowing that you won’t get away with it is our biggest and most effective deterrent. We want those that would commit such crimes to understand that you will get caught and you will get prosecuted.

“Now, what we have seen with the events over the month of September is a concentration of activity in the first (1st) precinct. (1st precinct is from the East End of the city, along the James River to South Side, including the neighborhoods of Oak Grove and Blackwell.) Nine (9) of the eleven (11) homicides took place in that precinct. Part of our strategy for abating conditions in that precinct will be the deployment of additional resources to that area. You will see a greater presence of police officers working with that community. We will also be working with our law enforcement partners from the state and federal governments, as well as our partnering jurisdictions in the counties to protect our communities, save lives and deter crimes. However, we can’t disclose all of the tactics we will be utilizing for this effort.

“I also want to note that much of our work in the Administration to mitigate poverty and to de-concentrate poverty is crucial to our overall efforts to reduce crime. Statistics show that much of the violent crime that we continue to focus resources on tends to be in the same neighborhoods. So what we do on so many fronts -- like working to provide alternatives and options for ex-offenders reentering the population or addressing where people live and how they live, or even addressing the proliferation of illegal guns -- is important to reducing overall crime in our cities as well. We must be mindful of all of these things and continue to work comprehensively to bring about sustainable change.”