Tag Archives: Police

The Power of Social Media: Union Hill Style

Rachel DePompa – bio | email

The folks in Union Hill started an interesting campaign on Twitter three months ago. They began calling out drug dealers in the neighborhood to Richmond Police via the popular social medium. As a result, they were also calling out Richmond Police for not paying enough attention to their neighborhood. The messages that hit the internet were often colorful and frankly, honest.

Here are a few examples of the tweets….

“Black SUV at 900 block of 24th owned by known dealer.”

“Known dealer hanging out at the corner of 24th/M White shirt/white jeans/white hat.”

” Lots of car and foot traffic to the green/white crack house near 24th/M. Come back and visit again today.”

 They neighbors sharing this twitter account have asked to remain anonymous, as it’s dangerous to be calling out illegal activity. It could be the first known twitter campaign in the world to take on drug dealers…. I can’t find another like it through searches on twitter, but who knows?

About 45 days into the campaign, Richmond Police and its chief did a walk through of the  neighborhood. Unfortunately, police denied it had anything to do with the twitter campaign. I know for a fact, police were well aware of it, as was Richmond Crimesolvers.  That organization actively began planning ways to reach out and help the residents in Union Hill with their problem. 

Either way, it appears Richmond Police have stepped up their presence and it seems to be making a difference. The anonymous tweeters posted this message today…. “Richmond Police we can’t say it enough, your noticeably increased presence is appreciated and effective!”

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Richmond Police Trial: Lessons Learned

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

Three Richmond Police officers were fighting for their careers this week. They were accused of obstructing justice. And a jury of Richmonders found them NOT GUILTY. The officer’s attorneys had one question today… “was it worth it to bring these charges?”

I will say, it’s a tricky question. There were obviously witnesses at the scene who felt they were being disregarded. I know if I witnessed a crime, at the very least, I would expect police to take down my name and number. But, I’ve also witnessed just how chaotic Shockoe Bottom can be in the early morning hours. People are all over the place… walking the streets, the sidewalks. And I know that crowd control can be one of the scariest and most difficult parts of a police officer’s job. A jury found these officers not guilty, but an internal affairs investigation determined things were mishandled at the scene and the officers were punished internally. One phrase really sums up this case: mis-communication. We don’t want our officers worrying they’ll be accused of obstruction of justice every time they write up a simple report, but we also don’t want them treating citizens, who witnessed a crime, like they don’t matter. It looks like there are lessons to be learned all around.

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Richmond Roundup: Ukrop’s, Ukrop’s, Ukrop’s

Style Weekly Photo

Style Weekly Photo

Rachel DePompa – bio | email 

I’ve decided to try something new. Starting today, every Friday I plan to post a round up of the week. Random thoughts, Random events. Let’s see how this goes and how long it lasts….

UKROP’s:

First, if you’ve come to this blog looking for the latest on the Ukrop’s saga, I don’t have anything new to say. (Other than my blog has had more hits in the last three days than it’s had all year.) I was tempted to just write a blog entry that went something like this…

Ukrop’s is for sale. Ukrop’s has a buyer. Ukrop’s Urkop’s Urkop’s, Harris Teeter, Ukrop’s. Bobby Ukrop’s letter to employees, Ukrop’s speculation. Ukrop’s blog. Ukrop’s is not for sale. Ukrop’s Ukrop’s Ukrop’s  (All of these phrases and 20 more were searched on google just today.) 

No really, there’s nothing new to report. But, believe me, If I can dig anything up on this story YOU WILL KNOW! 

Police Cars: (If I was Style Weekly this would be a -20 score)

Not a good week for Richmond Police cruisers. First, Mayor Dwight Jones changes the police take-home car policy. Officers now have to live in the city to take a car home after hours. But, we learned on Tuesday, city cop cars don’t fair too well in city limits. Just ask the 4th precinct this week. One of its cruisers was set on fire in North Barton Heights.  Someone slammed a brick through the windshield and lit it up.

And then we learned, even new police cars can give the city trouble.  In 2007, the Wilder Administration bought 40 police cars. Sheehy Ford got the contract, but Crossroad’s Ford in Prince George County blew the whistle. Calling out the deal as shady. That dealership’s complaint may have led to a City-wide investigation. Not a good week to have flashing blue and red above your head. 

Cameras in town:

And finally, if you see a lot of camera crews around town this weekend. Don’t be alarmed. There’s a 48 hour film festival with 30 teams trying to make movies. You will see them filming all weekend long. Have a good weekend.

 

 

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Filed under Crime, Richmond, Ukrop's

New Crime Wave, New Hire, Old Problem

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

New Crime Wave: When Kitchen Utensils Go Bad…

So, I have to call Richmond Police today to ask about an assault case. Two women fought in North Richmond. One had a frying pan, the other? A steak knife. This comes one week after a man was beaten with a meat tenderizer. Too many cooks in the kitchen? (Thank you! Thank you! I’ll be here all night taking requests.)

New Hire:

Mayor Dwight Jones is certainly helping the city’s employment rate this week. He’s made another hire. This time for Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Economic and Community Development. He’s hired Peter Chapman who starts July 13th. Chapman comes to Richmond from Denver, Colorado where he serves as the director of a national community development organization.

Old problem:

Baseball, baseball baseball. I hear the city could announce a new team in three weeks. There’s also a new push to renovate The Diamond. Opening Day Partners out of Maryland (Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and businessman Peter Kirk) have a 28 million dollar plan to upgrade the facility and keep it open year round with other events. The Richmond Metropolitan Authority (which controls The Diamond) has stopped short of endorsing the plan but says it would be a good way to make a new team successful on the Boulevard.  Old problem, same discussion, nothing new here.  

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Breaking Down Richmond’s Murder Rate

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

As of now, we stand at 27 homicides for the year. Another shooting is currently under investigation and we’re awaiting word as to whether the death of a women in the Museum District last week is a homicide. Last year we had 32 murders… A 37 year low. Once you reach a record low, there is inevitably no where to go but back up. That fact, coupled with the economy means crimes of desperation are on the rise. We’ve seen a string of convenience store robbers in the past week, where the suspects opened fire. A clerk was killed, another was shot six times, but is expected to survive. I spoke with Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring at length today. He, and Police Chief Bryan Norwood say the economy is a factor. Drug activity is also soaring again. There are a lot of reasons contributing to a rise in the rate, but you have to also step back and look at the bigger picture. Even 30 or 50 murders this year is far less than the 80 to 90 we averaged just 10 years ago or the 180 a few years prior to that. Last year may have been an anomaly, but it’s too soon to start pointing the finger at local agencies or people in new jobs. We need to stay vigilant as a community and watch out for our neighbors.

Successes so far this year:

Commercial Burglaries- down 49%

Commercial Robberies- down 47%

Aggravated Assaults with Firearm- down 26%

Purse Snatching- down 43%

Crime to watch so far this year:

Individual Robberies- up 10%

Theft from Buildings- up 31%

Theft from Motor Vehicle- up 53%

 

 

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