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13News Now Investigates: A record number of homicides in Hampton Roads

Homicides in Hampton Roads have doubled from a decade ago.

NORFOLK, Va. — Violence in Hampton Roads hit a new high in 2022.

Homicides increased 7% to claim a total of 220 people last year across the seven cities, according to local police departments, FBI data, and records kept by 13News Now.

That is double the amount from just a decade ago and the worst year on record for the region, according to FBI data which dates back to 1985.

The grim numbers come as violence is easing in other major American cities. Homicides dropped by an average of 5% in 2022 across large American cities, according to AHDatalytics.


Portsmouth Police investigated a record 42 homicides last year, including five fatal shootings in what became a deadly week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Detectives believe the December incidents appear isolated and not connected to one another.

“It’s an abundance of access to firearms and a lack of conflict resolution is really what we’re seeing,” said police spokeswoman Victoria Varnedoe.

The Portsmouth Police Department is holding a prayer vigil on Thursday night to remember all who lost loved ones to gun violence.

Varnedoe said they hope the event also serves as a call to action to make 2023 a safer year.

“Parents are often able to intervene in some of these disputes before they happen,” Varnedoe said. “So we’re hoping the community will come together in this moment, rally with us, ignite this call to action, and be more involved and help us solve some of these crimes and reduce some of the violence we’re seeing.”


Chesapeake Police say they investigated 25 homicides in 2022.

Two days before Thanksgiving, a Walmart employee walked into the store on Sam’s Circle and opened fire, killing six people.

The six deaths contributed to Chesapeake’s worst year on record, according to FBI data dating back to 1985.

Chesapeake averaged 10 homicides a year from 2011-2020.


Suffolk Police reported 13 homicides in 2022, which is the most since 1997, according to the FBI numbers.

The city averaged just four homicides a year from 2011-2020.


According to 13News Now records, there were 22 homicides last year in Virginia Beach, which is the most since 2019.

A Virginia Beach Police spokesperson said the department is currently moving its data into a new system and will have its official year-end numbers finalized in the coming weeks.


Norfolk Police investigated 63 homicides in 2022, including several cases with multiple victims.

Detectives investigated a double homicide in January, only to be called to the scene of a triple homicide three days later.

In March, three people were shot and killed outside a bar on Granby Street over a spilled drink. Weeks later and just a couple blocks away, one man was killed in a triple shooting inside Macarthur Center.

A triple homicide on Fenner Street in August remains unsolved, and so does a double homicide a week later at a Killam Avenue house party.


Newport News Police report 31 homicides for 2022, the same as the year before.

The city was rocked with three double homicides throughout the year, including the unsolved murders of two workers at the 7-Eleven on Kiln Creek Parkway in June.


Hampton was the only local city to report a drop in murders in 2022.

The department investigated 24 homicides in 2022, which is a slight decrease from 27 homicides reported in 2021.

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