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Richmond Sees Sharp Reduction In Homicide Rate

RICHMOND (KCBS) _ Barring an unforeseen explosion of violence in the coming month, the city of Richmond will wrap up 2010 with a major reduction in its homicide rate.

In 2009, there were 47 reported homicides in the city, but Richmond Police Sergeant Bisa French said that number has dipped to 22 this year.

“We have a gangs unit that is monitoring our gangs and we have a parole unit that monitors our parolees,” French said. “We’re just actively pursuing those people to make sure that they’re where they’re supposed to be and doing the things they’re supposed to do in terms of their parole or probation.”

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

She said they have also adopted a new strategy of leaving officers on their regular beats permanently.

“It’s a huge deal. We believe in order to get to know our community, we have to be out there and we have to get to know the people and we have to know what’s going on,” said French. “The more we know what’s going on, the more we’ll know who is supposed to be around and if something is about to happen.”

French said luck has also played a big part in the drop in the number of murders, as many times, they have had officers in the right place at the right time to put a stop to violent crimes before they can happen.

One of the things they have seen this year is more cooperation from the community. Before, a murder might occur and witnesses would keep quiet for fear of retribution.

French said people are now starting to realize that if they don’t step up and tell police what they know, the vicious cycle of violence will only continue.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • McKinley Ross

    Dear Mark Seelig:
    This is good news for Richmond and I want to commend you for bringing it to the attention of the public. The part of the story that wasn’t told is the fact that a little known agency within the City of Richmond has also made a significant contribution to the decline in the homicide rate. The Richmond “Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS)” was created several years ago with a mandate to work directly with the relatively small group of individuals who are actively involved in the street-gangs that are responsible for the majority of homicides and related violence.

    Working with the Richmond Police Department, Parole and Probation Officers, and through contacts on the streets the ONS has otreached to appx. forty (40) “high-risk / at-risk” targeted individuals and steered them into an array of intense programming activities. Every Monday – Thursday from 8am – 4pm, these individuals meet with ONS staff and service providers and receive anger management training, job-readiness training, Boot-Camp type training that includes physical exercises, meditation, academic skills training, other types of Life-Skills training and services that has succeded in “re-programming” these young men to transition away from their previous anti-social, violent lifestyles. Mark, I am convinced that it is the combination of the hard work and dedication on the part of ONS Director Devone Boggan and his staff, the Richmond Police Department, and other lesser known community partners that have contributed to the sharp decline in Richmond’s homicide rate. Please let me know if you intend to do a more in-depth, follow-up story and if you would be interested in additional details. Take Care…

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