RICHMOND, Calif. (KRON) — In the midst of reports about surging crime in the Bay Area, one East Bay city has seen a reduction in gun violence leading to a dramatic drop in violent crimes, despite low police staffing levels. In the City of Richmond, proactive policing and community outreach have played pivotal roles in diminishing crime.
By the end of 2023, the Richmond Police Department expects to be at its full allotted staffing level. The agency is gaining more interest from recruits and once fully trained, the additional boots on the ground will alleviate the excessive overtime officers are working now.
“There’s light at the end of the tunnel, which is great for the department,” said Richmond PD Sergeant Donald Patchin.
In the meantime, the current police force is managing through lowering levels of crime. Since the start of the year, from month-to-month, almost all violent crimes are trending down, including sexual assaults and robberies.
There was an increase in aggravated assaults in the last reported month, but this year, there have been just two homicides in the City of Richmond.
At this same time last year, there were 10.
“Proactivity is what’s gonna get the guns and get the criminals off the streets. So that hopefully we can prevent the violence before it occurs,” said Sergeant Patchin.
The City of Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety plays a vital role in reducing gun violence. Outreach staff members engage with and stay in consistent communication with people who have criminal histories. They help them work through their problems without violence.
“If you don’t address the individuals that are actually doing these things nothing changes,” explained Sam Vaughn, deputy director of community services.
Every life lost is a tragedy, but Vaughn says just two young people have been killed in the city in the past 37 months. It’s a low number he couldn’t fathom when he joined his department more than a decade ago.
“These numbers are low because people in this community are making better decisions on how to deal with their conflicts,” said Vaughn.
Those decisions are leading to safer streets.