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Richmond Mayor Jones addresses recent incidents of crime involving children

6/4/2014, 3:07 p.m.
Mayor Dwight Jones says, "no child should grow up gathering memories of being shot in their neighborhood. That is unacceptable, and I am outraged." He recently spoke out against the recent incidents of crimes involving children in the city of Richmond.

Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic addressed media today regarding recent incidents of crimes involving children. The following are Mayor Jones’ remarks as prepared for delivery for today’s press briefing.

“Thank you for joining me here this morning.

“I wish we could be meeting under better circumstances, but I’m here with Police Chief Tarasovic to talk about some of the challenges we’ve been facing recently.

“As Mayor, one of the standards I’ve set is for prompt notification – no matter what time of day or night – when there is a major crime incident in the city and incidents involving children. Over time, I’ve taken calls from our chief at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, 4:00 a.m. in the morning, and at various other times.

“It’s horrible when I receive the calls that a tragedy has occurred somewhere in our city. The only thing worse is the Police Chief having to make the call to report in on something tragic that has sadly occurred. Today, I feel that I’ve been getting too many of those calls lately, and that’s what I’m here to speak about.

“I want to first thank our Police Chief and the men and women of our police force for the hard work they have been doing. They are often on the scene of these incidents in less than a minute. They have a strong case-closing rate and have actually improved our overall crime statistics in recent years. They do a fine job of standing for excellence, integrity and justice.

“But we must do more.

“In February, a 7-year old was struck by a random bullet. In May, a 5-year old was struck. This past weekend, a 2-year old.

“No child should grow up gathering memories of being shot in their neighborhood. That is unacceptable, and I am outraged.

“We should all be outraged at this and we must all recognize that this is not just a policing problem, this is a community problem.

“What I want to do today is call on the community to help us. Rise up against this type of behavior. If you see something, say something.

“We’ve got to combat this together.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of the community’s involvement in our efforts. For example, our efforts at sorting out what happened this past weekend when the 23 month old child was shot were greatly aided by the help of neighbors - neighbors who wanted the correct information to be known.

“But we still have several cases of children being harmed where no one has come forward with information. Cases where many people were present and know what happened, but have chosen not to get involved.

“I implore you to take a stand and get involved. Take a stand against criminal activity in your communities.

“Now there are several things we are continuing to work on to improve safety in our communities.

1) Our community policing model is designed to forge relationships with the police in neighborhoods. We’ve actually intensified our community policing model.