Richmond, Va., well known for fighting violence through stronger gun-law enforcement, is trying a more comprehensive approach now that the city’s homicide total is up sharply. The Richmond Times-Dispatch says that City Manager Calvin D. Jamison pledged last night to get more of his bureaucracy fighting violent crime and reach out to businesses, schools and clergy for help.
“This is just not a police issue. This is a comprehensive issue that needs to be addressed with a comprehensive effort,” Jamison told the City Council during a 45-minute presentation. “We will continue to change this city in the right direction.”
Jamison’s plan is replete with ideas, old and new. It is missing a price tag and timetables. “I think we’re still looking for the full package, and I don’t think we got that today,” Councilman William J. Pantele told the newspaper. Councilman G. Manoli Loupassi also wanted more information and pressed Police Chief Andre Parker for specifics.
Jamison will focus on concentrations of poverty, the availability of illegal drugs and “easy access to guns.” He is assigning teams of employees from all government agencies to specific areas of the city, where they will search for blight and other factors that lead to crime.
Richmond reports 83 homicides so far this year, compared with 59 on the same date last year.
A prosecutor suggested that the city should rehire former Police Chief Jerry Oliver, who recently resigned as chief in Detroit after being caught with a gun in checked luggage at the airport.