NORFOLK, Va. — On Monday, Norfolk Interim Police Chief Michael Goldsmith shared what the police department is doing to tackle crime in the downtown area.
Chief Goldsmith joined several city council members to discuss solutions with the Downtown Norfolk Civic League.
They have hit the streets, literally, in search of solutions to violence in the downtown area after a recent shooting sent four people to the hospital. In total, more than a dozen people have been shot downtown this year alone.
“We have walked up and down Granby Street to physically smell, hear and see what is going on,” said Norfolk Councilwoman Courtney Doyle.
Downton Norfolk Civic League leaders are calling for an earlier closing time for bars and restaurants. Councilwoman Doyle agrees.
“Will everyone have to close at midnight? I think I personally support that,” Councilwoman Doyle said. “I know many shootings have taken place after midnight, not before midnight.”
Councilwoman Andria McClellan said any new regulations need balance.
“We have to be very careful not to be so heavy-handed that we hurt everybody,” Councilwoman McClellan said.
When it comes to safety improvements, Chief Goldsmith said his department is pulling out all the stops.
“We are definitely coloring outside the lines,” Chief Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said the department is beefing up patrols along Granby Street and surrounding areas.
“On Wednesday through Saturday, we have extra folks showing up on patrol between 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.,” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith said the department is investing heavily in security cameras.
“Also looking at buying the backend software that will allow us to tie those cameras together and be able to see what is going on in the city,” Goldsmith said.
So far, he said safety enhancements are helping police officers get more suspects behind bars.
“We respond very quickly to events,” Goldsmith said. “If we can’t make the arrest on the spot, we make it very quickly afterward.”
Chief Goldsmith said he is also looking to invest in cameras that can read license plates. He wants to place these across the city.
Councilwoman Doyle said city leaders are doing their part to keep businesses in line.
“I will say that the enforcement efforts that the city is undertaking, code enforcement, zoning CUPs, is ongoing and is very deep,” Doyle said.
13News Now talked with several downtown business owners about the proposal to close at midnight. A few owners said they didn’t think a time change would help and said that plan isn’t fair.