Richmond is among the nation’s “murder capitals” according to a set of new data that listed three Virginia cities as some of the most deadly cities in America.
The River City, which has a population of more than 200,000, was number six in a ranking of the 30 cities and counties with the most murders in the country. Washington, D.C. was named the city with the 10th highest murder rate, according to the findings.
The information was gathered by housing market website FindTheHome.com. According to the site, the data is based on a 2014 FBI Uniform Crime Report and a 2014 data release of the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Only counties and cities with populations of 50,000 or more were considered.
In its report, the housing market website said the rate of total crimes has been decreasing in large cities despite rising murder rates. Various sources, including the Brennan Center for Justice, reported a drastic jump in murder rates in large cities across America from 2014 to 2015.
The site said popular theories among experts for a spike in murders include the rise of income inequality, loose gun regulations and less active policing by officers, who are acting more cautiously in the wake of events such as the Ferguson shooting.
Despite a decrease in killings from 2006 to 2014, according to the data, Richmond’s murder rate stood at 18.9 murders per 100,000 citizens, more than four times higher than Virginia’s average which was 4.1 murders. Virginia’s murder rate was comparatively smaller than the country’s average, which stood at 4.5 murders per 100,000.
The rate is significantly lower than it was in 1994, when Richmond’s crime rate peaked and the city ranked second in the murder capital rankings with 77.2 killings per 100,000. In 1997, Richmond held the title of “murder capital” with the highest murder rate in the country at 67.2 per 100,000. The city is one of six to have had the highest murder rate in the country between 1985 and 2012.
In 2008, the state capital recorded its lowest murder rate since 1971 with 31 murders, a rate of 15.5 per 100,000. The rate has not exceeded the teens since 2007.
“We’re making progress in reducing the murder rate in Richmond, our strategy is aggressive enforcement and investigation,” said Richmond Police spokesperson Gene Lepley. “We work very hard to close these cases with arrests and we believe the success is because of the cooperation we get from the community.”
Lepley gives credit to efforts by the police such as the Fugitives and Firearms Initiative (FFI), an annual effort to target wanted persons and illegal weapons which the department started in 2005. It ran annually from May to August until current Police Chief Alfred Durham took office in 2015 and launched an additional round of FFI that ran from November to December.
According to the department, the initiative has recovered nearly 240 firearms since it was first launched. A total of 802 illegal firearms were recovered in 2015 by additional efforts of officers and detectives, an increase from 2014.
At a press conference in January, Mayor Dwight Jones announced that the rate of all violent crimes in Richmond was at its lowest point in 45 years. The rate decreased by 30 percent since 2009 and 12 percent since 2014 which was the largest year-to-year crime reduction rate in the past seven years.
Print News Editor, Fadel Allassan
Fadel is a sophomore print journalism major. He is fluent in English, French and Sarcasm, and he probably doesn’t like you. Fadel enjoys writing about politics and making people drive him to Cook-Out. // Facebook | LinkedIn