VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Police Department Chief Paul Neudigate said violent crime is largely down in the resort city, even when compared to other U.S. cities of a similar size. He shared that information with the city council on Tuesday—along with other crime stats, technology updates and his staffing needs.
He explained that crimes like commercial burglaries, aggravated assault, criminal homicides and shootings are trending down. That's in comparison to this time last year and a three-year average.
However, crimes like violent robberies, as well as robberies from cars are increasing from data this time last year. And so are thefts of cars themselves.
Neudigate mentioned a rash of reports coming from dealerships along Virginia Beach Boulevard.
“Our team is reaching out to the numerous dealerships to see what we can do from a problem-solving perspective," said Neudigate.
They’re also trying to come up with safety solutions where many shootings take place. Police said those are Oceanfront and West Bayside areas.
“We have really refocused our efforts on addressing violent crime," he said.
A chaotic night at the Oceanfront in March left two people dead.
One shooting involved a Virginia Beach police officer who shot and killed Donovon Lynch. The officer's camera was not turned on.
The Chief said Tuesday all his officers now have access to body-worn cameras. New signal sidearm holsters are meant to automatically turn them on when their firearm is picked up. According to the chief's report, signals are installed on 850 holsters, 355 holsters are deployed in the field and the rest are in transition training.
And as for surveillance, 22 cameras were installed in the resort area after the March shootings. That's thanks to additional funding from the city council. Twenty more will be installed after Labor Day.
Tourist Robin Meissner didn’t notice all the cameras at first. “But I think it’s comforting knowing that they have them," she said.
She hasn’t been in Virginia Beach too long. "But so far, I feel comfortable. I haven’t noticed anything that’s made me feel unsafe," said Meissner.
The gunshot detection system ShotSpotter has been in place at the resort area since July 14.
"Where this is very important, there are two activations that we know we have because we recovered shell casings. We did not get a 911 call," said Neudigate.
ShotSpotter is also getting installed in the West Bayside area.
And VBPD is waiting for the full installation of technology called National Integrated Ballistic Information Network or NIBIN. It's meant for firearm ballistics comparison.
“What that will do is tell us any and all offenses that firearm or those shell casings have ever been involved in," said Neudigate. "Hopefully, this will be a game-changer for VBPD.”
The chief also told the council that there are 48 recruits in the current academy class. That should fill his officer vacancies if they all graduate. But VPBD still has 95 open positions for operations staff.
CLICK HERE: To view the chief's full report to the council Tuesday.