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13News Now Investigates: Portsmouth suffers rising crime as city cuts ties with another police chief

The latest police chief, Renado Prince, was only given 10 months to try and make a dent in crime before he was abruptly fired.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Portsmouth city leaders will soon begin searching for a third police chief in as many years. 

A 13News Now investigation found the change in leadership comes as the city's residents suffer through a rise in shootings, homicides and other violent crimes. 

Renado Prince, who was fired Tuesday, preached patience when Portsmouth first hired him as police chief. Ultimately, he would only get 10 months to try and make a dent in crime.

"It's not going to happen overnight. This is a slow process," Prince told 13News Now in a September 2021 interview.

And that's evident in the numbers.

Violent crime in Portsmouth through the first half of this year is up 29%, according to department figures.

Numbers suggest that shootings, in particular, are out of control.

The Gun Violence Archive lists 107 people shot this year in Portsmouth. The website's unofficial tally lists 108 shooting victims for all of last year.

With 21 killings this year, Portsmouth detectives have investigated more homicides these first six months of 2022 than they do most years. FBI data shows Portsmouth averaged 19 homicides a year over the past decade.

Prince took over at a time when Portsmouth was already struggling with crime, recruitment, and inner-department turmoil.

Credit: Dan Kennedy / WVEC

His predecessor, Angela Greene, sued the city after she says she was wrongfully terminated.

And Greene's predecessor, Tanya Chapman, alleged systemic racism at the police department when she said she was forced out.

Chapman fired Prince in her first week back on the Portsmouth payroll as its new City Manager.

She didn't give a reason for the police chief's dismissal, and she has not yet agreed to our requests for an interview. 

Vice Mayor De'Andre Barnes told 13News Now that he heard it was over a "breach of trust." 

Portsmouth is not the only city struggling with violent crime these days. In Hampton Roads, homicides are up this year in every city except Hampton and Newport News.

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