James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 3.82'
Flow: 1770 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond

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Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 1:36am
Low Tide: 8:36am

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Shooting on Belle Isle

June 26, 2012 2:46pm


The south side of Belle Isle, about 100 yards from where the shooting took place.

This report on T-D.com is scary, and, to me at least, it underscores how we need a dedicated parks police patrolling places like Belle Isle, Pony Pasture, etc.

It doesn’t matter that this happened at 12:07 a.m. People who don’t know the area well, but might want to check out the James River Park, will only see “Belle Isle shooting” and stay away. Perception quickly becomes reality — for criminals and possible park users alike. For the criminals, it’s the broken window theory: If you allow criminal-friendly conditions to fester, criminals proliferate. I spend a lot of time on Belle Isle and I know how hard the police who patrol it work. But they aren’t there enough and there aren’t enough of them. For possible park users, especially suburbanites predisposed to outdated Richmond stereotypes, this makes them think those stereotypes might not be so outdated. So they don’t come, and they tell their friends not to come, and they people from out of town to avoid Belle Isle, which should be an absolute gem of the JRPS.

We can implement every aspect of the Riverfront development plan, but if we then turn the river over to the wolves, what have we accomplished?

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?