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How city officials plan to combat rising homicide numbers in 2018

RICHMOND, Va. – Homicide and gun violence rose slightly in the City of Richmond in 2017, with police investigating more than 60 homicides.

Mayor Levar Stoney acknowledged the increase and also pointed out that overall, violent crime slightly decreased. Additionally, officials said at least half of the homicide cases were closed in 2017.

City of Richmond officials are working to help decrease homicides in 2018, citing the Respect Richmond campaign launches several months ago, which incentivizes the public through social media to leave crime tips and spreads awareness of the destruction caused by violent crime.

Officials also hope to install anti-crime program called ShotSpotter, that they claim can help police reduce gun violence. The system allows police to respond immediately to the exact location where gunshots were fired in real time illustrating the danger faced in those neighborhoods.

At least 90 cities across the country, including Washington, D.C. have been using the technology. That city captured 9,000 incidents of gunfire in 2009.

Richmond City Council approved $235,000 in the 2017 budget for the technology, but there have been no specifics as to when and where the system would be implemented.

Mayor Levar Stoney also hopes to focus on crime prevention efforts.

“I'm going to focus on ways we can prevent crime as well,” Stoney said. “Whether it's working with our Commonwealth Attorney Mike Herring on a root cause summit on crime or working on preventive measures like better after school programs for each and every child in Richmond Public Schools.”

Click the video below for an interview with Mayor Stoney on his first year in office.