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Deadly shootings leave Norfolk residents concerned about safety downtown, vacancies in police department amid chief's departure

NF Granby Street.PNG
Posted at 10:10 PM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 23:28:37-04

NORFOLK, Va - In Norfolk’s City Council meeting Tuesday night, residents brought up the recent uptick in crime in Downtown Norfolk - and many, including the Downtown Norfolk Civic League, want security increased in the area.

"I’m here tonight to thank you for increasing the police presence downtown, especially on the weekends and late at night," Lelia Vann, the president of the Downtown Norfolk Civic League, said.

Vann is keeping security top of mind.

"All want high-resolution, functionable cameras in our garages and on the streets. A majority want businesses to be responsible for the people they attract and whom they profit," Vann said.

In the last month, four people have died in senseless shootings downtown. This comes at a time when the Norfolk Police Department is short staffed, looking to fill 227 officer vacancies.

"Norfolk Police compensation should be on par or higher than neighboring cities. Norfolk is in a crisis," Vann said.

"Nobody can manage this city with the level of poverty that exists [while] down 200-plus officers," one resident said in the city council meeting.

Some residents are still in shock after Chief Larry Boone announced his retirement in a resignation letter.

"My city of 60 years was safe because of Chief Boone’s actions. Mr. Mayor, you even mentioned his actions in your book. You didn’t mention any other leader, but you mentioned Chief Boone, and now you turned your back on him," one Norfolk resident said.

Related: Current, former Norfolk Police officers weigh in on Boone's departure, what it means for the force

"Talk about what you did to Chief Boone. It’s unforgivable, and what you’re letting in, we don’t know. $187,000 for Chief Boone. That’s an annual salary, but what does recruiting cost?" another Norfolk resident said.

Norfolk Police have increased their presence on the weekends to ensure safety.