Norfolk mayoral candidates address violence in city

Posted at 6:12 PM, Apr 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-09 23:12:07-04

Norfolk, Va. - Vanessa Carter-West says violence has become all too common in Norfolk.

Last month, she spoke with NewsChannel 3 after a man was gunned down just feet away from her home.

“It’s just, like, over and over and over, the stupidity of others putting everybody else in danger,” Carter-West explained. “Putting everybody else in fear. It’s tiresome.”

With the mayoral election next month, NewsChannel 3 talked with the candidates about how they plan to combat crime.

Norfolk Sheriff Robert McCabe, State Senator Kenneth Alexander, and Councilman Andrew Protogyrou are all running to replace retiring Mayor Paul Fraim.

McCabe says supporting law enforcement plays an important role.

“The biggest thing a city council can do, a mayor can do is make sure the police department has all the resources - both manpower, equipment, latest technology,” McCabe explained.

Alexander disagrees.

He say shaking hands and building relationships will put an end to what he calls “senseless murders”.

“Renewing relationships with citizens who are likely to report crime, who are likely to know who committed the crime,” Alexander said. “Personal responsibility is important. Increasing police presence is important. Civic engagement is important and enforcement,”

Protogyrou, who agrees with both candidates, is following a holistic approach.

He wasn’t available for comment but sent us this statement:

"We need a holistic approach to crime in Norfolk. During my time on Council I've been responsive to the needs of Chief Goldsmith whether it was officer pay or protective vests, but I also pushed for transparency through the use of body cameras. Further, we need to strengthen Norfolk Public Schools and offer more after school programs to keep kids engaged and learning, not on the streets."

Regardless of who become the next mayor, Carter-West hopes  he is able to unite a community that’s seen better days.

“The community coming together can sometimes stop stuff like this.”

Along with creating a safe environment for people, the candidates say the violence is also hurting their chances for attracting businesses and families interested in settling here.

The election will be on May 3rd.