‘Respect Richmond’: Officials launch campaign to reduce gun violence

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Attorney General Mark Herring and the City of Richmond on Wednesday launched a new campaign to reduce gun violence and homicides in the city.

The two parties announced Wednesday that ‘Respect Richmond’ will use ‘innovative marketing and advertising strategies to target anti-violence and anti-retaliation messages to those at highest risk of committing gun violence or being a victim of gun violence, and the broader Richmond community.’

The first phase of the ‘Respect Richmond’ campaign includes a website dedicated to providing a variety of materials, including videos, statistics, a calendar of events and community resources, as well as links to programs and initiatives, aimed at curbing violent crime in the city.

Part of the new campaign also includes strategically placing ads on websites, social media accounts and YouTube channels that are most likely to be seen by Richmonders at risk of committing an act of gun violence or becoming a victim.

“We have to break the cycle of violence and retaliation in Richmond that is claiming too many young lives, exposing too many children to the trauma of violence, and causing too many Richmonders to live in fear in their own neighborhoods,” AG Herring said in a release. “I’m proud to be launching this campaign with partners who are innovative, supportive, and committed to tackling this problem head-on, and I look forward to seeing some of our other projects come to fruition in the near future.”

“We need to do everything we can to keep our communities safe and free from violence,” Mayor Stoney added. “This provocative digital messaging campaign, strategically designed to discourage gun violence that brings bloodshed and fear to our most vulnerable residents, is just one more tool in the toolbox we need to build a safer city.”

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham was also present for Wednesday’s launch. He is hopeful the campaign will have a direct effect in reducing crime in the city.

“I’m hopeful that this innovative campaign by Attorney General Mark Herring to raise public awareness about gun violence will result in fewer shootings in the city,” Durham said. “Seizing illegally-held firearms will only get us so far. We need people to think twice before they pull out a weapon; to understand the consequences of their actions.”

Organizers said the campaign will run at least through the end of the year, and that additional phases of ‘Respect Richmond’ will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

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