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Hampton police chief discusses recent string of violence

Chief Mark Talbot noted this January marks the highest number of homicides in a single month since he took over the division in 2021.

HAMPTON, Va. — After several weekend shootings, Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot discussed an "alarming" rise in violent crime in the city Tuesday afternoon.

Over the weekend, there were four shootings in less than 18 hours. The string of violence left three people hurt and one dead.

But the violence didn't stop there. According to Talbot, a shooting on Monday night ended with a man, a pregnant woman and her unborn child dead. 

Talbot said the city ended 2022 with a 30% reduction in homicides and a more than 20% reduction in non-fatal shootings. While crime was overall lower in 2022, the last quarter of the year saw a spike in crime.

He said 20 people have been shot, nine of them killed in January alone this year. That's half of the city's total number of homicides for all of 2021.

Talbot said the crimes weren't random and each of the victims was targeted.

He noted January marks the highest number of homicides in a single month since he took over the division in 2021.

"Tragic and senseless crimes that represents a lot of pain for families, a lot of pain for neighbors, for friends and a lot of pain for this city and frankly, a lot of pain for this police division," he said. "We’re here to let our city know that we’re using this pain that they’re feeling and we’re feeling as motivation to bring safety and security back to the city."

The chief said the division has discussed steps to take to restore safety in the city. He said the division will take an "all hands approach" from the chief to the "youngest rookie on the force."

"You’re going to see that we are deeply, deeply sorry that we couldn’t prevent these cases, but we’re going to make up for it," he said.

He continued to say Virginia State Police and federal agencies will step in to help, primarily to deal with traffic enforcement.

More patrols and partnering with neighborhood watch programs are two of the ways the department is trying to get a handle on the violence.

"We believe that we will be able to leverage their understanding of the neighborhoods," the chief said.

Talbot said they’re still looking at what caused this recent eruption of gunfire, but he said with more guns than people in the country, it’s not hard to predict.

"There are folks out there who think that they are going to dominate these spaces and we will not let that happen," he said.

Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck wants people to know they are doing their part to help tackle the problem.

"We make sure our police division has the resources that it needs to do its job and there is no backing away from that," he said.

Last year, 24 people died from gun violence in Hampton. A spokesperson for the department said their homicide clearance rate from 2022 was just over 42%. In 2021, their clearance rate was 44%.

Data from the FBI shows the national average sits at around 50%.

Talbot encourages people who are directly impacted by the spike in crime to come forward, whether it's submitting a tip to the crime line anonymously, or meeting with an officer in person just to talk.

"We will make sure that we do not have to live through a spike like this again," he said.

Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary since the disappearance of 4-year-old Codi Bigsby

Chief Talbot said while the division continues to get tips on Codi's disappearance, the amount has "slowed down over the months."

"It's one of a whole buffet of tragedies that we've dealt with over the last year," he said. "We believe that, ultimately, justice will be done in that case."

You can watch the entire press conference below:


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