HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – After an especially violent weekend, leaders across Hampton Roads are speaking up about their efforts.
From Friday, March 18 to Sunday, March 20, 16 people were shot. Four died across the area.
Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover talked with News 3 Monday morning, saying “What happened this weekend is tragic for everyone.” He added, “It’s very important that we work with all of the communities with all of the stakeholders and as a region, because as you know, guns can be purchased in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, other localities and quite often they’re used in other cities. We’ve got to get a better handle on where these weapons are coming from.”
Mayor Glover said he is planning on meeting again this month with other mayors in the 757. He also explained that the initiative, “Project Safe Neighborhoods” is underway. It essentially identifies criminals living in the area and offers them a chance to turn their life around for the better, or have them incarcerated. Glover says it is a proven program in other cities, but it takes time.
Incentives including pay raises are part of what Glover says is helping to retain and recruit more police officers. He said they’re currently training another group right now.
Meantime, he’s calling on the public to help.
“If you see something, say something. These random acts that are coming up in our community, we know people know what’s going on,” stated Mayor Glover. “These are community happenings. Violence happens in the community, and somebody knows who are the perpetrators. If you see something, say something. It’s important that you use your ability to help us. We need help.”
A spokesperson for a local chapter of NAACP also says they are working to set up another meeting with local police chiefs and city managers. They held one last year and are hoping to see more funding go toward grassroots organizations on the streets trying to reduce violence.