I have to confess, I got a little heated during today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, because I am absolutely fed up with the B.S. excuses and finger-pointing on the part of Richmond, Virginia Mayor Levar Stoney when it comes to the city’s rising crime rate. As I’ve previously written about, one of my sons lives in the city, and one of his friends was murdered earlier this year; a crime that has yet to be solved.
Rank-and-file cops in Richmond have been warning that the city is growing more dangerous, but Stoney and his politically appointed police chief Gerald Smith have dismissed what officers are saying with Smith going so far as to claim that the city wasn’t unsafe at all, even though homicides have been rising for the past several years, and absolutely exploded in 2020.
Things have only gotten worse this year, with 40 homicides reported in the city through August 1st, compared to 34 during the same time period in 2020. While the mayor and chief are now at least acknowledging that the city is a more dangerous place, they’re also blaming legal gun owners for the crime spike.
Mayor Levar Stoney pointed the finger to guns rampant on streets, and at a growing mental health crisis on Tuesday.
Hours after 8News pressed Stoney on the city’s status to find a solution to gun violence, Richmond police said a gunshot victim walked themselves into an East End hospital with life-threatening injuries.
… “I’m incredibly concerned,” Stoney said. Adding, “No, it’s not the 1990s, that’s not the case, but still, when a person loses their son or daughter to gun violence, that’s a problem for all of us.“
He said that he believes Chief Gerald Smith is doing everything he can with the resources he currently has. Stoney emphasized that the department can’t just solve crimes but also has to prevent them.
“So, whether there are weapons and firearms and fire power we see in these communities we’ve got to get these guns off the street,” Stoney said.
Smith said that a way community members can help get guns off the streets is to report lost and stolen guns.
I asked Police Chief Gerald Smith off camera about getting guns off the street, he told me it’s paramount the public report lost and stolen guns.
If you believe that violent crime is skyrocketing in Richmond because gun owners aren’t calling the police when their firearms are stolen, I have a bridge over the James River I’d like to sell you.
No, the biggest problem right now is that there aren’t enough officers on the streets.
Richmond Police saw a 47 percent increase in the number of officers who left the department in 2020, compared to the year before. That includes resignations, retirements, terminations, and any other reason.
During the specific time frame from April of 2020 to April of 2021, during the height of much of the protests and pandemic fallout, 82 officers gave notice to Richmond Police, out of an authorized strength of 754.
Note that’s the authorized strength, not the actual number of officers before the 82 resignations last year. The situation on the ground is even worse than it looks on paper.
If Mayor Stoney and Chief Smith truly think that legal gun owners are the cause of violence in Richmond, I’ve got bad news for them. My son turns 21 next week, and his birthday present is a concealed carry course. He and I have had multiple conversations about how unsafe he feels walking home from his job near the VCU campus in the evenings, even before his friend was killed in cold blood as he walked to a convenience store to get a bottle of tea. As soon as my son can legally carry in self-defense, he’s doing so. Richmond’s leadership is doing an atrocious job at protecting the public, but at least the Democrats in charge of the state haven’t yet managed to prevent the public from protecting themselves.