GRTC Pulse officially launches. Here’s what to know

‘Respect Richmond’ campaign helped reduce Richmond violence, officials say

RICHMOND, Va. -- City and state leaders have announced the relaunch of the 'Respect Richmond' campaign -- an initiative aimed at combating violence in the city through social media. The campaign originally launched for a six-month period in September 2017.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced Wednesday afternoon the results of that initial campaign. He said overall homicides citywide during that time period were 21 percent lower than the same period one year earlier. He also said violent crimes were down 21 percent.

The campaign uses online platforms like digital messaging and social media ads to strategically target neighborhoods with high rates of gun violence. Social media messages -- designed to catch the eye -- will be shown to people living in areas of the city prone to gun violence.

The ad targeting is real time and officials said the ads can be sent at specific times, and hone in on accounts in an area down to a quarter mile radius.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham spoke about the change he believed people in Richmond wanted to see.

"All in all I think residents are fed up," he said. "We hear it at community meetings, we hear it when we walk in our communities --especially our most challenging communities here in the city of Richmond."

The campaign will run for four months over the summer which is when Herring said the city usually sees the biggest spike in violent crimes.