HAMPTON, Va. - The Hampton Chief of Police spoke only with News 3 on Tuesday about the recent crime numbers.
According to police, there have been eight homicides so far this year, which is three more than this time last year.
News 3 records show that puts Hampton in third for the most homicides in Hampton Roads so far this year, a tie with Virginia Beach.
"We're concerned no matter what the crime numbers are," says Chief Sult.
However, when it comes to violent crimes overall, Chief Sult says they are on track to make a decline from last year.
One major focus of the department is guns, especially in the hands of younger people. Chief Sult says 40 percent of Hampton homicides involve victims between 16 and 24-years-old.
"We treat every firearm case as though it was a homicide, even though it may not involve anything more than a possession of a firearm," he says. "If you look to see what's killing our youth, particularly our minority youth, it's firearms."
Chief Sult says they have a partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They work together to track every gun that is stolen.
"Weapons are something that these thieves are going after," he says.
Hampton Police have also increased overtime to make sure officers are spending time in certain "hot spots," or areas of concern, in addition to other neighborhoods, not only to build trust but to prevent issues.
Chief Sult says they are also part of a "Safe and Clean" campaign, which is a targeted effort to strengthen relationships between city government and the community and to improve the health, safety and quality of life in Hampton.
One of the areas includes the Shell Road corridor, which is where a 17-year-old was shot this month.
Chief Sult says the work is necessary for his department but one that can be a double-edged sword.
"When you have to spend more time, which is value added time in the neighborhoods, developing those relationships and building the trust, it does take away from the enforcement actions that we have to do."