NORFOLK, Va. - Getting guns out of the hands of youth in Norfolk is one of Chief Larry Boone's passions, and that took center stage Tuesday night at the kickoff event for the Just the Facts Community Outreach Tour.
One of the featured speakers, Audrey Jackson, lost her son to gun violence in 1999. Her son was 17 years old.
"When the officer had told me what had happened to my son, I just didn't believe. I said no," said Jackson. Initially, she believed the officer had her son confused with another Troy Smith down the street. She was sure her son was upstairs sleeping, but he wasn't.
She shared her story at the event to give others the perspective of what it's like to lose a loved one to gun violence. The tour is an opportunity for Norfolk Police to talk about the steady decrease in crime, community policing and how people can connect with the police department through social media.
Chief Boone said more intimate gatherings, such as this one, usually spark the best conversations.
"I can guarantee you tomorrow I will get a phone call or email or text, 'Chief Boone, this is something I've been thinking about,'" said Chief Boone.
Something Chief Boone is thinking about is a way to lower gun violence when it comes to youth.
"One of the things I'm very passionate about is gun violence with our youth. It's problematic," said Chief Boone. "When you have a mother and other mothers talking about gun violence and how it has affected them personally, that's a strong message."
Another strong message police want to get out in the community is how low the crime statistics are. In 2017, Norfolk had the largest one year decrease in violent crimes since 1998.
The next community outreach tours are:
- Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at the Norview Community Center from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
- Thursday, July 26, 2018 at the Huntersville Community Center from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.