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Community leaders give away free gun locks, clean up Portsmouth neighborhood to fight crime

Stop The Violence 757 and other partners are working to keep Portsmouth neighborhoods clean and safe.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Volunteers in Portsmouth grabbed trash bags and gloves and got to work Saturday morning for a community cleanup.

It’s a joint effort between Stop the Violence 757 and other community partners to bring people together and make the Effingham Street area a little cleaner.

The event was also about reaching out to the community and fighting crime. Organizers also gave out free gun locks to anyone who needed one. 

“If you come out and all you see is trash and litter strewn everywhere, you’re not going to feel good about your community, you’re not going to feel good about yourself,” said Freddie Taylor Sr. of Stop The Violence 757.

Taylor also pointed out that it’s not always people in the community who are responsible for the litter.

“By it being a major thoroughfare, you have people that’s transient that come through. They’re throwing things out the window,” Taylor said.

It’s about taking pride in your neighborhood. Portsmouth's waste management administrator Amos Taylor explained that when a community is clean, the people in that community feel better about where they live.

“If everybody works together, then we can have areas to look good and have people feel good about where they stay, and show people in the community that we care. As well as show others that are coming into the community that we are not going to tolerate it,” Taylor said. “And we’re working together to make everything better for everyone.”

Organizers also gave out free meals to those who needed them. They also gave out gun locks in recognition of the rising gun violence across Hampton Roads.

Leaders from Keeping Us Secure and Prosperous (KUSP) and 2 Seconds handed out the gun locks for free.

Jay Boone of KUSP said, “We wanted to be boots on the ground and battle the issue with gun violence that we’re seeing.”

Mark Stevens of the 2 Seconds Initiative said something similar. 

“It’s not against guns, it’s about coming together and figuring out how we as a region can stop the violence," he said. 

Taylor Sr. said Stop The Violence 757 is working with city leaders to identify places that need city owned trash cans. 

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