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Virginia Beach police: Atlantic Avenue substation helps reduce crime at Oceanfront

City leaders took over the building in summer of 2021 to increase police presence at the Oceanfront after 10 people were shot in different incidents.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Police are making their presence known at the Oceanfront.

Department leaders are leasing a building on Atlantic Avenue that once housed The Boxx bar.

“It is huge, just in a sense of getting a foothold on Atlantic Avenue,” said VBPD Sgt. Nick Ball.

The space has become a police substation, but Ball said it still needs major improvements. He gave 13News Now a tour around the building.

“One of the major concerns, just if you look up especially, lots of dust and dark spots on the ventilation system,” Ball said. “There is stuff growing on the chairs. There is a gap, you can see light coming through the ceiling in the front half of the building."

City leaders took over the building in the summer of 2021 to increase police presence at the Oceanfront after several shootings left ten people shot. Two people, Deshayla Harris and Donovon Lynch, also died.

Since then, VBPD and city leaders have installed more surveillance cameras and lights at the Oceanfront.

While the space needs work, Police Chief Paul Neudigate said increased police presence in the resort area is paying off.

“The men and women of this department have done a great job of being proactive, engaging the community,” Chief Neudigate said.

He said the last homicide in the resort area happened June 19, 2021, and he said police officers are responding to fewer calls near the new substation.

“Just the 2100 block of Atlantic Avenue was responsible for 1153 calls for service alone in 2018,” Neudigate said. “It has went down year over year, but since we acquired that property we are responding to 21% fewer calls."

Neudigate said since the police department acquired the substation, reported violent crime in the area is down more than 80%.

He said the lease is about $5,000 a month, and renovations will happen over time.

However, he said it’s a spot officers can stop by this summer to take a quick break and get back on patrol.

“Our folks can go out and be engaging, they can be proactive against the folks that are pulling the triggers and causing our gun violence,” Neudigate said. “So, acquiring this property has been a win 100 percent.”

The chief presented the crime reduction statistics to Virginia Beach's city council on Tuesday. Several council members spoke about how they were pleased the substation is already making an impact.

Last October, city leaders also opened a substation off Pacific Avenue. 7-Eleven Inc. funded the renovations. 

Officials said it’s a relaxing spot to recharge while on duty.

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