Gilpin Court Violent Crime Reduction Initiative launched

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RICHMOND, Va. -- In Gilpin Court, police cars, neighbors and children flood the public housing complex.

But it's not a crime scene.

Instead, law enforcement officials are on foot building a stronger relationship in a neighborhood prone to violence.

"I'm just afraid of losing one of my friends or family and somebody I'm close to,” said Kianna Lewis, who lives in Gilpin court.

When asked if she feels safe, Jenita Booker said:

"To be honest with you -- that's 50/50 because I stay to myself. I go to work and I come home. When I'm not at work, I'm here.”

Booker moved in the complex a year ago.

"I do think a lot of things can be changed around here and it has to start with us first of all,” said Booker.

"Obviously, we want to do everything we can to show the community that we're on their side,” said Lt. Lewis Mills, Sector 411 Commander.

Mills kicked off Gilpin Court's Violent Crime Reduction Initiative along with the Command Staff and State Police -- part of Chief Alfred Durham's 100 day plan.

"It's very important that we continue to engage the community,” said Durham.

So far this year, violent crime is down 56 percent in Gilpin court. And Mills wants to capitalize on that momentum.

"There's a lot of publicity that's not great in the media right now between police and citizens,” Mills.

But, Mills says the recent officer involved shootings, doesn't make it tougher for him to his job.

"I just think, if you treat people the way you want to be treated, if you treat people the way you'd want the police to treat you're never going to have a problem,” said Mills.

And Booker believes -- change has to start from within.

"All cops are not bad. This is true. But I mean there's a lot of bad things going on,” said Booker.

The event kicked off the Gilpin Court Violent Crime Reduction Initiative, which runs from April 15 to May 30. During that time, the RPD will focus on enforcement, visibility, outreach, and area improvement with the goal of reducing violent crime. This initiative is in response to a focus point from Durham’s 100 day plan.

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