Police in Newport News and Hampton address violent crime

13News Now Niko Clemmons has the story

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WVEC) -- Both Newport News and Hampton police chiefs addressed crime in their respective cities, and ways to combat that crime.

It happened in two separate police briefings Thursday. The first wrapped up in Newport News shortly before noon. Police chief Richard Myers said he wants to make this a reoccurring conversation, and have several more police briefings throughout the year -- not just with the media, but the community as well.

Thursday's briefing was all about addressing crime in Newport News, how to keep the homicide numbers down and what concerns people in the community have. There were 31 homicides in Newport News last year, and more than 120 shootings.

Newport News' city manager spoke as well, calling those numbers "unacceptable."

The police chief also talked about their violent crime reduction task force. The Newport police department identified five neighborhoods in the city where the crime significantly increased since the beginning of last year.

Officers increased their presence in these specific neighborhoods, hoping to gain more information from residents about these areas. 

That task force started in November of last year. In just two months, the task force were responsible for 66 arrests.

There were 22 homicides in Hampton in 2016.

Hampton saw a 12% increase in violent crimes last year and seven more homicides in 2016 than in 2015.

In November, Hampton police created a special task force targeting guns, gangs and drugs.

Police Chief Terry Sult says they're making progress, but not quick enough.

“I think you can tell I'm frustrated,” Chief Sult says. “I've never seen so many kids trying to solve problems by carrying guns.”

Chief Sult says they plan to double the number of officers on their task force.

Chief Myers says they'll be holding media briefings at least twice a month.


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