No homicides for Richmond this year, longest stretch on record

Like many cities in America, Richmond has had its issue when it comes to community and police.  

"When I first started a lot of people didn't trust the police in all honesty," says Richmond Police Sgt. Kristopher Tong.

Richmond police wanted to change that and it appears to be working. In 1991, the city had 62 homicides.  So far this year, there are none. A span that's lasted longer than city officials can remember happening in more than 40 years. The last one nearly five months ago.

"In our recorded history that has not been a span this long of no homicide death in the city," says Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown. 

This time last year there were already four homicides in Richmond. 

Chief Brown credits a change in policing and greater community involvement led to the reduction. 

Events like the Barbershop Forum, where citizens get the opportunity to have direct involvement with law enforcement.  

Also, patrol officers are spending more time in the community, engaging residents and making connections that can pay off.  

"We have a neighborhood policing scheme where cops are on the beats for longer periods of time they get to know the residents," says Brown.  

"It's those personal touches we have with the community that really helps us out," says Tong.  

The chief says the department has a specialist who stays connected when it comes to gathering criminal intelligence and putting together cases, pinpointed at people who are most active in terms of gun violence.  

Brown also says getting gangs off the streets is a big help.  A multi-agency task force has rounded up some of Richmond's most dangerous criminals.  Officials say the group of men were linked to 14 murders and having them off the streets significantly reduces the number of homicides.  

"A couple of the major takedowns we had last year. We think also gives us a bounce in terms of quieting some of the gang-related shootings that can become retaliatory and sort of spiral out of control," says Brown.  

Law enforcement also credits technology in its reduction in crime. Using social media, shot spotter technology, and intel gathering software.