NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew, along with dozens of fellow officers, walked the Cottage Grove neighborhood Friday.
The neighborhood has been plagued by violence in recent years.
“I think it’s important to get out here and meet the citizens, the ones that we are serving and protecting, and that’s what we are trying to accomplish today,” said Drew.
One of those residents Drew met was a 6-year-old who was shot in the leg by a stray bullet during a cookout last month.
“I just wanted to come check on you and see if you are ok. 'How are you doing?” asked Drew to the shy young girl who hid behind her mother at first.
the little girl eventually built up enough courage to give the chief a couple high fives.
Drew said residents are often too afraid to report their concerns to police, so why not bring the police to them.
“This is like a Norman Rockwell painting in this neighborhood it’s beautiful, so what are the issues, right?” asked Drew. “Citizens just need to know that we care about them.”
The chief also said the presence of men and women in uniform sends a message to troublemakers and criminals. The message: this neighborhood is on the police radar.
“We are not going to tolerate individuals coming into this community, preying on these good citizens, and disrupting their lives, reeking violence and havoc here,” said Drew.
Some of the residents, like Dr. Deborah McGill-Jackson, walked along with the officers making sure their voice is heard.
“Give our children a chance to live out their lives decently, and in order,” said McGill-Jackson.
She said sometimes she’s afraid to walk from her car to her front door.
“And you move quickly, you move faster, you get to your door as quickly as you can,” said McGill-Jackson.
Fellow resident Lorenzo Anderson spoke with officers on his front porch about what he believes can be done better.
“I see the police during the daytime, but I don’t see them at night, and that’s usually when our young folks are getting killed or shot at,” said Anderson.
For the most part, these residents say what Newport News Police are doing is a step in the right direction.
“I really appreciate them coming out and letting us know that they care about our neighborhood, and what’s going on in our neighborhood,” said Anderson.
► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13News Now App.