Virginia AG Miyares calls on lawmakers, community leaders to curb violent crime

‘You don’t get money, power and respect by harming your fellow citizen.’

ROANOKE, Va. – Hundreds of law enforcement officers gathered in Roanoke this week working on ways to reduce violent crime across Virginia.

On Tuesday, at the 2022 Conference on Violent Crime at the Hotel Roanoke, Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares addressed the crowd.

“I want to see our murder rates drop and I want to see our deaths by addictions drop,” said Miyares.

The Attorney General’s office just received a large drug settlement that Miyares said will be used for treatment and different practices.

To tackle the influx of violent crime many Virginia cities have experienced, Miyares proposed more prosecutors to specifically target various violent criminals.

“We’re going to have some folks who are going to be specifically designated, zeroed in and focused on those violent criminals, gang-related and really go after those individuals,” said Miyares. “You have to be wise enough and smart enough to differentiate between those struggling with addiction and the drug dealers.”

Miyares said the proposed state budget will pay for these prosecutors and other resources.

One thing he said he’s looking for is mandatory minimums for criminals who use a firearm while committing a felony.

Project Ceasefire, another one of Miyares’ projects, would designate individuals who work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Working with federal prosecutors and local leaders is the best way to combat crime and recidivism, he explained.

The other part of his solution is to work on building up community leaders.

“My son was killed down at the Shell station on Hershberger and that was in 2004,” said Rita Joyce, a co-founder of F.E.D.U.P., a victim support group.

F.E.D.U.P. stands for Families Expecting Deliverance Using Prayer. The group offers support, financial assistance and resources to Roanoke families who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence.

Unknowingly, Joyce and Miyares - two strangers - are fighting the same fight.

“[Chief] Roman mentioned to me that so many young people are desperate for money, power and respect. They’ll do anything to get it,” stated Miyares. “It is making sure they have the right value system and right life skills. You don’t get money, power and respect by harming your fellow citizen. You don’t get money, power, respect by selling narcotics on the street.”

“Who is going to make me feel like I’m this? Those people will make them feel like they own the world. We have to make them feel like they own the world in a positive way,” expressed Joyce.

For more information on F.E.D.U.P., click here.

About the Author

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.

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