Petersburg police chief addresses spike in violent crime

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg’s police chief is speaking out about recent violence in the city, including the recent death of a 16-year-old.

Petersburg Police Chief Kenneth Miller says the number one thing he and his department are trying to do is build trust within the community, and that they’re already seeing positive results.

Over the weekend, 16-year-old Tyree Rives was shot and killed off West High Street in Petersburg. Last week, a drive-by shooting left 34-year-old Delqukis Ruffin dead and four others injured.

There have been 10 homicides in Petersburg so far in 2017 — a 150 percent increase from this time last year.

The city’s new police chief says they’ve increased visibility and started an operation called, ‘No Gun Policy.’ So far, he says 87 illegal guns have been taken off the streets since he’s taken over the department.

“By removing guns, illegal guns from the streets, it makes the community safer, but it also makes the officer safer,” Chief Miller explained.

Chief Miller added that his department has also implemented what’s called the ‘T-3 Program,’ which is aimed at increasing face-to-face interactions and building trust within the community.

“I’ve received a lot of cooperation from community members thus far, particularly from the houses of worship and the parishioners there,” Chief Miller said. “I’ve received notes as I’ve walked out of a church that said, ‘hey chief, you might want to go here.'”

Chief Miller said his department has also started using social media more as a tool to try and generate tips.

“If you see something, call us, if you know something, say something,” he said. “”How about we just live in peace; how about just living in peace. That’s the message.”

Chief Miller is asking anyone with information or knows about an illegal weapon to give them a call. he also explained that he encourages anyone to drop off a weapon at the department, no questions asked.

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