159 people shot so far this year in Hampton Roads; City leaders plan to work together to reduce gun violence

Posted at 10:58 AM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 18:39:00-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Mayors, along with city and county managers from across Hampton Roads, met Friday afternoon in Chesapeake in an effort to reduce gun violence.

According to gun violence archives, as of Tuesday, there had been 156 people shot so far this year in Hampton Roads. As of Friday, that number was 159.

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission hosted the roundtable discussion.

Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander called for a two-pronged approach: short and long-term.

"We have to enforce the law. Drug enforcement. Code enforcement," Alexander told News 3. "I think that is something that we can do immediately; that’s an immediate solution, is enforcement. A more long-term solution is to strengthen communities through programming and intervention and education and engagement."

“We have to reach into the communities. That’s the most important thing. Government is not going to solve this alone," Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said. He concluded the meeting by stating that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first steps and they've taken those.

Several city managers and mayors added that they'd like to have more discussions.

Everything from more policing to school resource officers and technology like surveillance cameras was discussed.

“One of the things our sheriff’s department has requested is the license plate readers," said Randy Keaton, administrator for Isle of Wight County. "I’m glad to hear a lot of other departments are using the same thing. So, we’re utilizing technology to try and stop the flow of illegal vehicles and guns moving around the region.”

On Tuesday, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck told News 3 that he hoped would be a productive meeting. He added that area mayors also met last spring and summer but this time, they’re including their chief administrative officers.

"I think we’ve got to define the problem, and then we’ve got to figure out, do we want to try and wrap our hands around it as a region? Do we want to go our own separate ways?" he said. “Are there best practices, and if there are best practices, can we share those? Let’s look at what’s working in cities and what’s working outside of our region and then try and incorporate those if they work for us.”

Robert Crum Jr., executive director of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, posed the following questions to city leaders ahead of the meeting.

  • What strategies are under discussion to address violence in your locality?
  • Do you believe there are regional opportunities to address this issue, or will most strategies be addressed at the local level?
  • What partners should be included in future deliberations on this topic?