RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Richmond police released crime data Thursday for the first three months of 2022, showing a slight decrease in violent crime and an increase in property crime from a year earlier.
As more people head outdoors in the coming weeks due to warmer weather, officers will increase their presence on weekends in certain areas of the city, such as Shockoe Bottom.
“It’s because we want everyone to be safe when they go down there to have a good time,” RPD leader Gerald Smith said.
Over the years, there have been several incidents in the Shockoe Bottom Entertainment District. Several businesses have closed due to loss of licenses due to nearby crime.
However, new businesses are now open and operating, and Smith said they are working with the district to ensure it is safe not only at sites but also in neighborhoods.
“A lot of weapons [are being] stolen from [cars in] the Shockoe Bottom Entertainment District because the entertainment venues do a really good job there of frisking people and don’t allow guns in their venue,” Smith said.
Richmond Police are reminding people to store their firearms safely. Some of these stolen weapons are used in other crimes across the city.
“There are just too many guns on the street,” Smith said. “People are looking for guns and other things to resolve disputes and don’t really talk about things.”
Since January, gun violence has claimed the lives of 17 people, including two children. Smith hopes those numbers don’t increase.
“A lot of these numbers that we’re seeing right now aren’t committed by minors,” Smith said. “There are, but it has a lot to do with the fact that our children have been back in school for over a year.”
That’s a change from Smith’s January presentation of crime data for the fourth quarter of 2021 and annual numbers.
Smith hopes the city’s new gun violence prevention and response effort will help solve the city’s problems.
Meanwhile, the RPD’s ‘Operation Red Ball’ has been extended to try to prevent the violence from happening in the first place, including removing guns from the streets.
“It just works,” Smith said. “Operation Red Ball has removed 159 firearms from the streets to date.”
While Smith is pleased that violent crime has fallen slightly in the first three months of 2022, property crime has increased.
Overall, Richmond recorded 1,969 property crime incidents between January and March; there were 1,407 at the same time in 2021.
The increase is tied to more opportunities, according to Smith.
Richmond police have issued warnings against drivers leaving their cars running while not inside the vehicle, leading to vehicle thefts. Meanwhile, valuables were also left inside unlocked cars.
However, RPD still faces an increasing number of catalytic converter thefts. To date, 191 reports have been taken, with eight people arrested so far.
Additionally, the city has seen a spike in arson cases this year, standing at 17 between January and March. Smith said nine of those non-structure cases were related to a young man.
To examine more data on urban crime, Click here.
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