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First Richmond shooting victim of 2018 said he was randomly shot

RICHMOND, Va. —  The first Richmond victim of gun violence in 2018 was shot just after midnight Monday, police said.

A victim checked in at VCU Medical Center with a gunshot wound in the leg, according to Richmond Police officials.

The victim told police he was walking on Saint Paul’s street in Gilpin Court when he was shot at random.

Officials said he has non-life threatening injuries, and asked anyone with information to contact police.

Richmond authorities hope to decrease gun violence and the number of homicides, which were trending higher in 2017 than in previous years.

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 launched several months ago, which encourages the public through social media outreach to leave crime tips, and which spreads awareness of the destruction violent crime causes.

Officials also hope to install anti-crime program called Shot Spotter, 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.”