Hampton police work to increase safety in the city after recent spike in violent crime

Posted at 7:55 PM, Jul 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-31 19:55:47-04

Hampton, Va. - A mobile command center is the newest tool for Hampton Police as they work to combat the recent spike in violent crime in the city.

So far this year, there have been 13 homicides compared to four this time in 2012.

"We don't know what gets inside people's heads when they decide to let emotion run amuck and use violence to solve the problems. We certainly want the community to know that we are here for them," said Hampton police chief Tom Townsend.

Chief Townsend wants to create more of a presence in areas that have seen violence, and they're encouraging people to come up to the center and report suspicious activity.

Wednesday, the mobile command center is set up on Child's avenue and 50th street. It's just one block away from where two babies were shot earlier this month while they were sitting in their grandparents yard.

That shooting is what prompted Chief Townsend to up the safety of the city, particularly in the Park Place neighborhood.

"This neighborhood child's avenue in particular experienced what I consider an intolerable crime. Maybe they weren't the intended targets, but the fact that they were shot and seriously wounded, In my mind, brings this effort that were making to the point where we need to start here," he said.

Chief Townsend also told NewsChannel 3 the mobile center has every capability the station does.

He also says there will be an increase of cops on bikes and officers going door to door.

"It makes me feel safer because now all the kids can come out and play without having to worry about somebody with a gun coming after them or shooting up the neighborhood," said Brenda Barkley, who lives on Childs Avenue.

But others are skeptical

"I'm pretty sure people out here might see it, an rethink what they might do since all this stuff has been happening, but then again some people won't  even care if its out here," said Chance West, who lives in Park Place.

NewsChannel 3 asked Chief Townsend if he thinks the mobile command center will work when it comes to stopping violence, and he said,

"I have very high hopes that it will work. I think the probability is great that it will work."


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