PORTSMOUTH, Va. — On Tuesday, Portsmouth Police Chief Stephen Jenkins presented an update to city council members on crime data in the city so far this year.
“From this meeting I would like to not only educate city council, but the public, on statistics for the city of Portsmouth,” Chief Jenkins said.
The Chief said, so far this year his police officers have responded to 29 homicides. That is one more life lost than during the January first to mid-September timeframe in 2022.
The new data also shows aggravated assaults are up from 140 to 158 incidents. But, shots fired incidents have gone down from more than 1,000 incidents last year to 820 this year.
“I care about stopping the statistics from rising,” said Councilman De’Andre Barnes.
Councilman DeAndre Barnes said he requested a plan for tackling the spike in crime.
“I think the police department has done an amazing job when it comes to after the fact, making sure that they are arresting people for the crimes they commit,” Councilman Barnes said. “But we can’t arrest our way out of crime, nor can we prosecute our way out of crime.”
Barnes wants to have the entire community involved in finding solutions.
“Planning plays a part when it comes to blighted communities,” Barnes said. “Parks and rec plays a part when it comes to programs for our youth. The city council plays a part. The city manager plays a part. The police chief plays a part.”
On the property crimes side, police officers reported 200 more cars stolen so far this year.
Chief Jenkins said he will also talk with city council about crime-fighting initiatives in place like gunshot detection and more.
“A lot of the initiatives that we have put in place since our last update,” Chief Jenkins said. “The presentation is not all doom and gloom there are quite significant updates that we have reduction in numbers and things of that nature. But it is going to give us an opportunity to hopefully have a robust discussion on crime and how we improve not only our impact on crime, but what we can do to deter it in the future.”
One initiative in the presentation is steering wheel locks to combat car thefts. Portsmouth Police said they have 240 locks to give out to some Hyundai and Kia owners.