Richmond seeks answers to increasing crime rate

Two people have murdered in Richmond this year.
Published: .
Updated: .

As the family of a Richmond teenager murdered over the weekend make plans for his funeral, the city is making changes to combat a growing crime problem.

Volunteers took time off from their day job Monday to plant flowers in the "City of Roses."

"We are all working together to make things better and this is one of our initiatives," said Amy Holthouse, a resident and member of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.

It's a beautification and a healing for a community mourning the loss of 17-year-old Caleb Woosley, found murdered in an alley between 14th and 15th streets.

"Very tragic situation with somebody so young for that to happen to," said Richmond Police Chief Kris Wolski.

Investigators preliminarily believe Woosley had been beaten to death.

"Last year, we had one homicide and this year, this would be our second," Wolski said.

There are still six months to go in 2014.

Richmond has encountered its fair share of violent crime recently. Last month, four men were shot and wounded and a 32-year-old man was found shot to death.

Wolski says those crimes haven't been random.

"I still stand by that, at least at this point, if you are an average, law-abiding citizen, you have little to fear in our community," he said.

Data from the city shows that violent crime dipped low in February, with just more than 50 reports. But in the months since, it's been inching back up.

"I'm pretty sure that it's drug-related," said former resident Kurt Mathews.

Mathews recently moved away from Richmond to avoid what he calls society's new problems.

"I don't think we have the type of morals and standards that we used to hold. I think we are losing those as we get more technically advanced. We get more primitive," he said.

While agencies work together in the city of 40,000 to spruce things up, residents like Holthouse hope it will do more for the city than just be a plant on the street.

"Help improve our community and the atmosphere and the outlook for our future," she said.

Wolski says his department is continuing to examine crime trends in the city and the best way to fight those and where to increase patrols to reduce crime.