Green California mayor tries to address concerns about violence

A recent upsurge in violent crimes in Richmond, California has citizens looking to the local government and its leaders for solutions.  Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a Green who has a constituency larger than any other elected official from her party in the country, is trying to address those concerns.  Richmond is a city of over 100,000 people, and the violence in the past week has included:

Police have identified four of those victims, including a carjacking suspect killed by a Pinole police officer after a chase on Saturday night.

Levi Boynton was one of three carjacking suspects who fled from Pinole police and got into a shootout when their vehicle crashed near Richmond Parkway on Saturday night. He died and the other two men are now in jail.

Later that same day, Richmond police found 34-year-old Tamar Anderson suffering from a gunshot wound in the 2800 block of Virginia Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Friday night, 20-year-old Alfred Thomas of Rodeo and 19-year-old Kaneesha Mallard of Hercules were killed at the 76 gas station at Imperial Avenue and Carlson Boulevard.

Mayor McLaughlin tried to offer solutions to the problem.  From KCBS Richmond:

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said the city had been taking steps to reverse what she called “decades of injustice.” She cited the job training and life skills training programs offered through Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety.

“We’re reaching out to young people,” McLaughlin said.

Richmond’s homicide toll now stands at 40.

And from The San Francisco Chronicle:

Family members and local officials said the violence was symptomatic of a broader societal problem.

“Either there is no plan or the plan that is in place is not working,” Shumake said. “Something is wrong and we need some answers. We are tired of the devastation that is taking place in our community.”

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who joined the family at the gas station Wednesday, said, “This is most definitely a systemic problem. For decades, we’ve seen a lot of neglect.”

The mayor said police, including officers on bikes and on foot, were patrolling “hot spots” and that community outreach teams have been going into the neighborhoods in hopes of stemming the violence.

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