Chesapeake leaders host community forum on violence
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Chesapeake law enforcement, civic leaders and religious leaders held a public forum to discuss solutions to violent crime in the community.
The event took place Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Christian Center.
Law enforcement pointed to the rising violence not just in Hampton Roads, but across the country. Last year, 19,600 people were murdered in the United States, including 200 in Hampton Roads.
Law enforcement has called the rise rampant that needs all hands on deck to stop.
“We have to find a way to come together for the good of this community,” said Capt. John Landfair of the Chesapeake Police Department.
Since January 1, there have been six homicides in south Norfolk, five of which involved firearms. Landfair oversees the 2nd Borough of South Norfolk. Currently, his office is focused on encouraging community policing, building positive relationships, getting criminals off the streets, recruiting violence interrupters, and using a grant to install fixed license plate readers in order to catch criminals driving stolen vehicles.
The readers would be installed in areas with a high number of stolen vehicles and shootings.
Another change the department has noticed is that gang members are being recruited younger, with many starting in college. They explained how teenagers handle stolen firearms to cause more damage and destruction and how those who legally own firearms must secure and lock them up properly.
This year, the 2nd District of Chesapeake removed 52 illegal firearms from the streets.
The Chesapeake Police Department’s Gang Unit regularly visits children in marginalized neighborhoods to exert a positive influence and show them that someone cares.
“I come to my job with love. That’s what these kids are looking for,” Detective Mark Coull said.
Matika Sawyer, who is Vice President of the League of Advocates, focuses on communities with the highest crime rates and helps adults and youth make better choices so they can lay the foundation for success. .
“We try to step in as much as we can,” Sawyer explained.
If you are interested in helping to end the violence, contact local law enforcement, church, or community organizations.