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Anti-violence program aims to decrease criminal activity in Portsmouth community

Posted at 9:16 PM, Dec 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-07 23:12:38-05

Portsmouth, Va. - Leslie Benton is begging anyone to come forward with information on who killed her son, Marquis Benton.ALT 2 Violence

She was one of the several community members to show up at I.C. Norcom High School for an anti-violence meeting.

The Portsmouth Police Department created the Alternatives to Violence program to help the community decrease violence.

The program is a collaboration between Portsmouth officers and the Building Millennium Scholars Program and focuses on at risk youth in the Portsmouth community.

There have been 22 murders in Portsmouth just this year, including Marquis Benton’s—who’s murder is still unsolved.

And there’s more—Terrance Hoggard was killed outside of a Roger Brown’s restaurant a few weeks ago.

“There were a hundred plus people who stood there and watched this young man get gunned down and not one person has come and talked to the police. Not one,” said Sargent S. Jenkins.

It’s a frustration Benton knows all too well.

“A person doesn`t get shot that many times and nobody heard anything, so please please pick up the phone and call the crime line make a report something,” she said.

Portsmouth investigators spoke about recent crime and violence in the city and how parents can recognize if their children are involved criminal activity.

A big part of the discussion at the discussion was gang activity. On the day of the conference, Portsmouth Police say they arrested six members of the Corna Sto Boys.  The gang detective said the members were selling drugs and had been under surveillance for a while.