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Combating Gun Violence: An In-Depth Look at Richmond's Project Exile

NCJ Number
Date Published
17 pages
This report examines a project initiated in Richmond, VA, in 1997 to supplement local law enforcement efforts by prosecuting selected gun offenders under applicable Federal law to obtain longer prison sentences and by deterring potential gun offenders with a large, targeted public awareness campaign.
Federal and local officials began Project Exile following rising numbers of gun-related homicides in Richmond. The sharp reduction in homicides in Richmond led to the project’s expansion to Virginia’s tidewater areas and to the Virginia legislature’s enactment of legislation similar to the Federal legislation. Project Exile’s three components include Federal prosecution with stiffer sentencing guidelines for offenders using guns while committing drug law offenses or violent offenses; a coordinated team effort among local, State, and Federal police agencies; and extensive community outreach. The intergovernmental law enforcement partnership involved a task force, training, information exchange, an accelerated investigation process, and improved procedures for handling and tracing firearms. Crucial components in the success of the project include the involvement of an active team, celebration of success, strong community policing and community prosecution initiatives, a simple and visible message, and strengthened penalties with maximum enforcement. Photographs and lists of print and electronic resources and a source of technical assistance

Date Published: January 1, 2001