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Hampton Roads mayors meet to discuss violence prevention

Leaders are looking for ways to address the growing problem of violent crime across Hampton Roads.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Mayors from across Hampton Roads met in Chesapeake Friday to discuss solutions to the recent rise in violence.

They agreed violence in the 757 has no borders. Now, they are working on ways to share resources and tackle violent crime, immediately and in the long term.

Just this week, four people died and several more were injured in shootings in several Hampton Roads cities. Leaders are looking for ways to address this growing problem.

This meeting is a follow-up to a work session on April 1, during which the mayors recognized that gun violence in the area is not slowing down in 2022. 

“There was a point even within perhaps the last four to five weeks, it seems like every other day there was something happening in Hampton with respect to a shooting,” said Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck.

Mayor Tuck said the rise in crime is not just in his city.

“I think we all recognize that it is happening in each locality,” said Mayor Tuck.

On Friday, Hampton Roads city managers presented a plan of action to share intelligence and resources to prevent crime as a region.

“A lot of Norfolk’s homicides, the suspects are not from Norfolk, same is true in Portsmouth and so on,” said Norfolk City Manager Larry "Chip" Filer.

Filer said city leaders are seeing gangs from other cities working together. He wants officials to share gang intelligence to address that problem, but also share law enforcement technology and programs to combat all types of crime.

“A lot of us are buying cameras. A lot of us are buying additional equipment. We are all doing it by ourselves,” Filer said. “There could be some strength in numbers to help us get things both quicker and at a better rate.”

The City of Norfolk has faced a rash of shootings in the downtown area recently, including three shooting incidents this week.

“I think these criminal activities originate somewhere else and happen to end downtown or in another part of our city,” said Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander.

Mayor Alexander said safety is his top priority. He said Norfolk police officers are chasing every lead when it comes to any unsolved case.

“Every person of interest, we are interviewing those persons,” Mayor Alexander said. “We are not slacking on pursing those persons who have committed crimes in the City of Norfolk. We will arrest them and bring them to justice.”

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and city leaders are in the early stages of building a regional crime dashboard. The goal is for leaders and police departments in every city to keep an updated log of crimes in their area.

Next, city leaders agreed to bring their police chiefs together to provide input on what data they’d like to see included on the dashboard. The group also agreed to break into smaller sub-groups and start working on some of the regional crime prevention ideas presented.

Hampton Roads city leaders are meeting again in July but said they are not waiting for that meeting to get the ball rolling on the regional crime tactics.

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