VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A violent start to summer at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront has city leaders taking action.
As people are getting ready to celebrate Independence Day, Virginia Beach Police are preparing for the busiest day at the Oceanfront.
In the last month, police say there’s been a spike in crime near the boardwalk. Neighbors have called it "out of control" and "chaotic."
Mayor Bobby Dyer called for a special public safety meeting Thursday.
“I think it was very important that we were here today before the weekend coming up,” Mayor Dyer said.
Fireworks will be canceled this Fourth of July, but police are still expecting crowds.
A spokesperson with the Virginia Beach Police Department told News 3 recently that they are aware of the concerns and have staffed up patrols.
We were also able to speak to Virginia Beach resident Liz McNulty last week who lives nearby the scene of one of those recent shootings.
"The amount of activity and the gun violence is just out of control. I seem to be not the only one saying that. Everyone is saying that."
One couple is in the process of moving closer to the sand.
“Super exciting. We are about nine blocks from the Oceanfront, so we can walk and ride our bikes,” said Caitlyn Murphy, who’s moving to the area.
But the recent shootings in the area are a concern.
“It kind of gives a worry like wanting to come out, if it gets late you have to watch out,” Murphy said.
Police provided us with data of where all the recent shootings happened at the Oceanfront.
From May 31 to June 23, police say there were six shootings on Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street between 17th and 33rd Streets.
Inside one parking garage on Pacific Avenue, police say they found a man dead from a gunshot wound. The garage is right in the middle of a busy area.
“It could happen at any point. You have no idea who is walking the streets or the sand,” Murphy continued.
Interim Police Chief Tony Zucaro says you will see an increased presence of officers this weekend. At the special meeting, he shared video of a large crowd on Atlantic last weekend.
“An individual with a music box that comes off the sidewalk and the crows follows him and they surround the officers and at this point you can see them in the officers personal space,” he explains.
He says this is an example of people not following lawful direction.
“Officers don’t go to work to be the bad guy or the evil person they are there to protect everyone,” Chief Zucaro said.
He says he understands the tension between the community and police in America and in the Resort City.
“We are not going to arrest our way out of this. It’s a community issue, and we need to have more conversation and dialogue.”