‘Community in crisis:’ Richmond leaders want more police in neighborhoods

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RICHMOND, Va. – Over a 10-day period, 13 people have been shot in the City of Richmond. Five of them were murdered. It’s that violence that Richmond city leaders and citizens say has gone far beyond unacceptable.

"It's the killing fields of public housing that people are scared to go near. We have problems that we have to solve,” said city resident James Haymes, Jr.

Haymes said the bodies dropping in the city streets to gun violence are being ignored because what he calls a “dreamed-up” controversy.

“Let’s leave the statues alone and get to the bigger issues," he said. “The biggest issue I find is the crime."

Haymes said he could no longer sit in silence as he saw more people die and get injured from gun violence Monday. He heard the pain in their voices.

"Our limited resources are being stretched thin and the statues’ issue has created a lot of overtime expenses. Those are some of the questions that will come up at the next public safety meeting,” Councilwoman Kim Gray said. “We need to focus all of our resources on the living, breathing children in our community to make sure we are keeping them safe.”

“If police say they need more resources, then we need to give them what they are asking for to do the job,” said City Councilwoman Reva Trammel.

Trammel leads Richmond's Public Safety Committee. She says she agrees with Councilwoman Kim Gray, that violence in the city is spiraling out of control.

Kim Gray

"We are fortunate to have VCU Medical Center and their trauma staff here because it would be worse,” said Gray. “We are still a community in crisis. We need to not try to shield behind lower stats or changing numbers around.”

Crime Insider sources say more than 30 more people have been shot this year compared to the same time last year, and that estimate is conservative.

Haymes says city leaders need to pause and listen.

"James Brown in 1968 coined the phrase, that can apply today: ‘They are talking loud and saying nothing,’" said Haymes.

The Public Safety Commission is set to meet in late September.  Several member say they're nervous about how much more crime could happen between now and then.

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