In several media interviews this week, Richmond Police Chief Allwyn Brown credited improved relations between police and residents as part of the reason there hasn’t been a homicide in the city in nearly five months.
The last homicide in Richmond happened on Nov. 14, 2017, when a fatal shooting took the lives of El Sobrante residents Hayley Flores, 26, and Robert Bill, 24 were taken inside a residence in the 900 block of View Drive in the Hilltop Green neighborhood.
While crime persists in the city, with the chief stating in February, “We certainly have our hands full,” local media including the East Bay Times, KTVU, and ABC7 News reported this week on the city’s lack of homicides.
Brown told KTVU, “In our recorded history there has not been a span this long of no homicide death in the city.”
In all media interviews, Brown credited greater community engagement that has police officers spending more time in the community interacting with residents. He also credited residents for cooperating with police, partly by calling in suspicious activity, and pointed to a multi-agency crackdown on local gangs as playing a role.
“I really feel that engagement is the key variable, that we’ve improved trust through engagement across the full spectrum of neighborhoods in Richmond,” Brown told ABC7.
In a Facebook post sharing the ABC7 report, Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said, “Everyone has a part in making Richmond a safer place to be.”
The mayor added how his staff was deeply affected by Richmond’s most recent homicides. As reported in ABC7 News, staff member Irene Perdomo’s cousin was one of the victims. She told the news station she is grateful for the pause in homicides, “but I realize there’s more work to be done and the fight isn’t over.”