Guardians reflect on downward trend of crime in Richmond

1/8/2014, 4:23 p.m.
Richmond Guardian Angels Commander Jo White is celebrating a steady decline in crime over the past few years and is ...
Jo White

By Sylvina Poole

Richmond Guardian Angels Commander Jo White is celebrating a steady decline in crime over the past few years and is hopeful that it remains that way.

White notes that in 2007, the city ranked as fifth worst city with populations of 100,000 – 250,000 people when it came to violent crimes.

“We’ve been on a steady decline in crime with 2013 being the lowest since 1999,” she said. “I don’t have statistics before them. [The 2013] total crime rate shows more than 2,000 less reported crimes than last year. Hat’s off to Chief [Ray] Tarasovic and the Richmond Police Department.”

Richmond saw 37 homicides in 2013, a number that ties 2011 for the second fewest murders in one year since 1992, according to Richmond Police Department data. 2008 stands as the low-water mark for Richmond murders with 36.

This is where White’ group will concentrate its efforts in 2014, intensifying its efforts in reducing the so-called ‘Black on Black’ crime.

“Even though the crime in Richmond is lower and the murders are lower, still there is a very disproportionate number of blacks killing blacks,” said White. “While the demographics show only about 30 percent of the population in Richmond being black, the percentage of blacks being killed in the city is approximately 75 percent with approximately 80 percent of the people charged in those killings being black as well. Those are approximate numbers because I’m going by 2010 and 2011 statistics. I haven’t yet found the 2012 or 2013 statistics but I would doubt that they are much different.”

Guardian Angels’ foot patrols in neighborhood hot spots will continue in 2014.

White explains the Guardian Angels agenda for 2014. “We’re already planning our 2014 “Time to Live” Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. This year’s walk is scheduled for June 7 with a rain date of June 14,” she said.

For the walk, the organization is partnering with the VCU/Massey Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen, Virginia Cancer Foundation, Bon Secours, Cross Over Ministry, the Virginia Department of Health, and Capital Area Health Network. Additionally, it will partner with host churches, with earlr partners being Bethlehem Baptist Church, Second Baptist Church, 31st Street Baptist Church, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Fresh Anointing cathedral, Holy Rosary Catholic Church, and Good Sheppard Baptist Church. The “Time to Live” Breast Cancer Awareness Walk is not a five to 10 mile walk to raise money for breast cancer, but rather a door-to-door, face-to-face walk to dissimilate breast health information, such as how to do self-exams, where to get free testing if you are uninsured, and to urge people to get mammograms when the time is due.

Other planned Guardian events for 2014 are:

• 2nd Annual Highland Park Spring Break in April;

• Open up Gabriel Prosser Freedom Park in May;

• National Night Out in August;

• We Care Festival in August;

• 911 Service Day in September; and

• Long Walk to Freedom in the fall.