NORFOLK, Va. — As Norfolk experiences a wave of violent crime, community activists and organizations gathered together to share ideas on how to stop it.
"Community-based programs and prevention is where we need to focus," said Cameron Bertrand, who organized the event.
Just one day after Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone announced his retirement, people are trying to figure out what comes next.
"Boone just left minus 200 officers. What are we gonna do to make that difference?" Matheau Hall asked.
Hall is the cousin of Sierra Jenkins, the Virginian Pilot reporter who was shot and killed on Granby Street almost three weeks ago. She was represented by many of her family members, including her father, Maurice.
"Honestly, you know, unlike my daughter who was the type of person that would have been here being a part of things like this, and it's not something, honestly, that I've ever been a part of," Maurice said. "I feel kind of ashamed that it took something like this to happen to my family, to my daughter, for me to come out here and get involved. But, I know that it's something that I got to step it up and I got to be here for, not just for my daughter, but anybody that's affected."
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Hall said there needs to be more surveillance in the city.
One speaker said we need more grassroots organizations instead of waiting for the city to do something.
Travis Williams, who works with the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority, said we need “wraparound services” to help the whole family.
"Surround the families. Engage with the parents. It’s not just about the youth, it’s about building that village," he said.
Charles Brown said the solution is to give kids and teens more opportunities.
"So many of them are trying to figure out how to make money. So many of them are looking for an outlet to let off steam or to figure out a better way for themselves and their family."
Leon Judge said he agrees.
"We need funding. We need to hold basketball tournaments in the summertime, keep these guys off the street. Give them something to look forward to."
Everyone in the room agreed no one can make the necessary changes alone.
So, the organizations involved in the conversation said they want to find a way to connect and make some real, long-term change.
"We gotta go in there as a team. Organized, structured, with a game plan," said Judge.