Virginia annnounces program to reduce violent crime
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Marla Decker announced Thursday that a successful state pilot program in Richmond will be expanded statewide to reduce violent crime.
Operation Rolling Thunder led to a 35 percent decrease in violent crime in Richmond in November 2010, according to city officials. The goal was a 20 percent decrease in robberies.
Among the program elements:
-- Virginia State Police conducted traffic enforcement operations.
-- Alcohol Beverage Control conducted underage drinking operations and club compliance activities in areas where robberies had been occurring.
-- Probation and parole officers visited the homes of individuals on probation for robbery and of certified gang members.
"Operation Rolling Thunder demonstrates effective use of state and local resources, capturing each agency and department's strengths, to address a specific crime problem,'' Assistant Richmond Police Chief Dave McCoy said.
Decker said in a morning briefing with reporters that her office has also been focused on two other areas: combating gangs and implementing prisoner re-entry policies.
"The Office of Public Safety and the public safety agencies are silent partners in the Governor's job creation efforts,'' she said. "In order to attract and grow businesses in the Commonwealth, people must feel safe in their communities and neighborhoods.''
Decker said the state has worked to develop programs to reduce recidivism and increase outreach to troubled youth, and next year will launch a mentoring program in juvenile detention centers that pairs volunteers with facility residents.
Deputy Secretary of Public Safety John Buckovich, who serves as Gov. Bob McDonnell's s statewide anti-gang coordinator, was also on hand to talk about the governor's latest executive order creating the Commonwealth's Gang and Violent Crime Executive Committee. The group will work with local and federal officials, businesses, community and faith-based organizations to implement policies to address gangs.
| December 16, 2010; 11:08 AM ET
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