Basketball program aims to reduce violence in Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A program created by two ex-cons is using basketball to reduce crime.

Jawad Abdu and Paul Taylor created RVA Night League for Safer Streets, targeting youth and young adults from about eight neighborhoods to bring them together through the game.

“When you have some of the hardest areas of this city all coming together on the basketball court, usually neighborhoods got beef and they just having fun together,” Taylor said.

Taylor and Abdu created the program while they were incarcerated.

They said the program is intended to give youngsters a positive outlet.

“My guys and my girls around me, they don’t have nothing to do,” Abdu said. “This is their fun and we’re going to keep them safe while they’re having fun.”

Abdu said in the seven weeks the program ran, there were no murders committed in areas where violent crimes usually take place.

Program organizers are in talks with Richmond Police and council members to restart the program by next month.

RVA Night League for Safer Streets also requires participants to attend hour-long workshops focused on teaching life skills.

Organizers are looking for more leagues to join and play basketball two times a week at Hotchkiss Community Center.

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