Gov. Youngkin announces creation of Violent Crime Task Force

Youngkin Crime Task Force.jfif
Posted at 10:46 AM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 20:46:28-04

NORFOLK, Va. - As crime and gun violence continue to be major concerns in Hampton Roads and Virginia, Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced the creation of a Violent Crime Task Force on Monday morning.

Members of the Task Force are meeting with community members from across the state, including in Petersburg last week.

The Task Force will make recommendations the governor can carry out, as well as legislative recommendations.

“There is a clear recognition of a violent crime crisis in Virginia and my administration is committed to joining with community leaders, law enforcement, and Virginians around solutions with the Violent Crime Task Force. We will take a comprehensive look at how we can address the rise in violent crime by providing more law enforcement resources, creating alternative and after-school activities for children, and addressing the fear that results in witnesses failing to show up for a criminal hearing,” said Gov. Youngkin in a press release.

Since last Wednesday, 10 people have been killed in shootings in Hampton Roads, including two people in Suffolk, two people in Chesapeake, two people in Portsmouth, one person in Hampton and now three in Norfolk.

Local mayors have held meetings to try and find regional responses to the violence with the next meeting expected during the summer.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said this will not have a one-size-fits-all approach and says different communities have different needs.

For him, part of the goal is to get people who deserve to be behind bars in jail as he believes it's too easy for certain people who commit crimes to be released on bail. Miyares says that would help victims and witnesses come forward.

"We have a court system that's backed up partly because of COVID, so it's going to be months and months before [offenders] have a trial. It's that combination where you have a lot of victims that are living in fear or witnesses that are living in fear, so we have to do what we can to make sure they feel comfortable moving forward," Miyares told News 3.

Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney Ramen Fatehi came to the scene of a homicide on Monday in Norfolk. He told News 3 he's already met with the Task Force.

"I will work with anyone from any political party who is interested in keeping our citizens safe," he told News 3.

For Fatehi, a key way to address the gun violence issue is to put more resources into protecting the witnesses of crime.

"We need a Virginia witness program. We need a program," he said.