For Release: April 2, 2011
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Attorney General Cuccinelli and Petersburg leaders host
crime prevention community clean-up day
PETERSBURG (April 2, 2011)— Residents and leaders from businesses, churches, nonprofits, and law enforcement joined Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to beautify a Petersburg neighborhood today to send a clear message to gangs and other criminal elements that they are not welcome. Petersburg Community Day “Improving Virginia One Community at a Time” was intended to forge stronger neighborhood relationships through collaborative beautification work, as well as food and entertainment. The event also celebrated a 70 percent drop in violent crime in Petersburg during the past two years.
The community day was held at Blandford Park, located behind Blandford Academy in Petersburg. Students from the First Baptist Church Junior Choir delivered the National Anthem and workers donned blue and gold “Community Day” T-shirts before planting garden beds and fixing playground equipment.
“I’m honored to play a role in helping to bring law enforcement agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations together for a positive community-building event,” Cuccinelli said. “The graffiti and litter in Blandford Park has wrongly conveyed to criminals that people do not care about this community. Today, we are a united group working side-by-side to prove otherwise.”
“I am very excited about this partnership between the attorney general’s office, law enforcement, and the community,” said Sheriff Vanessa R. Crawford. “Since I was raised in the Blandford area, it is especially gratifying for me personally to help enhance the community. It is also great to see state and local agencies, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, churches, and civic organizations working together with one common goal in mind—improving conditions in our neighborhoods. Much can be accomplished when we work together.”
“This is a very important event,” said Chief of Police John Dixon. “It shows the partnership between the attorney general’s office and the Petersburg Police and our commitment to focus on the neighborhoods in the City of Petersburg.”
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from January 2005 to December 2008, Petersburg experienced an alarming rise in violent crime, making it the most violent city per capita in the commonwealth. During the past two years, however, the city has seen a drastic (more than 70 percent) decrease in violent crime. The drop stems from aggressive police action, as well as the entire city’s increased involvement in the improvement of all communities.
Sponsors for the Petersburg Community Day included the Office of the Attorney General, Petersburg Police Department, Petersburg Sheriff’s Department, City of Petersburg, Petersburg Boys and Girls Club, Old Towne Catering, Virginia National Guard—Color Guard, Petersburg Weed & Seed, Joyner Paint & Frame, Demolition Coffee, J.D. Purdue Landscaping, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Club Charles-Les-Manze, Inc., Amelia Paving, Inc., First Baptist Church, and several other churches, fraternities, and community organizations.
A copy of this news release may be found on the website of the Attorney General of Virginia at http://www.vaag.com/Media and News Releases/News_Releases/index.html.