Hampton Roads mayors continue discussion on gun violence prevention

NF 2600 Colonial Avenue double homicide (April 9).jpeg
Posted at 10:19 AM, May 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-06 16:28:57-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Hampton Roads mayors continued their discussions on Friday about ways to help prevent gun violence.

This follows another meeting in April where mayors and administrators had a discussion on strategies.

"We want people to know that the mayors are serious about this," said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer.

Hampton Roads continues to see gun violence problems. This week a woman died in a shooting in Norfolk. A man was killed in Chesapeake.

In response to the crime, the city of Norfolk put up mobile surveillance cameras on Granby Street, but still someone got shot in the Neon District on Monday morning right by a camera.

"I think these criminal activities start and originate somewhere else," said Mayor Alexander. "We're trying to be smart and prevent those types of situations from starting in the first place and this is going to come through intervention and prevention."

On Friday, the city managers of Hampton and Norfolk presented some possible next steps the region could take.

"To properly identify the issues, we need to identify the contributing factors," said Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting.

Part of their approach deals with examining issues that lead to gun violence, like family dysfunction and concentrated poverty. "Concentrated poverty plays a big role when you look at hot spots, so how do you try and attack that?" said Bunting.

Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer made some tangible recommendations, some of which could happen now like sharing crime fighting technology and information about gangs. "We are starting to see city level smaller gangs actually aligning other cites' gangs and that is becoming a dynamic that is a little difficult to get our arms around," said Filer.

Filer also said some of the recommendations would require changes to laws and would take working with state lawmakers.

All of the local representatives agreed with the recommendations and now work will continue on specific ways to implement them.

"This is some impressive stuff in a short period of time and I couldn't agree with you more," said Suffolk Mayor Mike Duman.

The group will meet again this summer to talk about next steps in working together as a region.