Newport News Police Chief, community activist call for youth to fill out survey on input to help combat gun violence

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Posted at 8:55 PM, Apr 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-30 22:41:35-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Gun violence within Hampton Roads continues to be an issue that community leaders are aiming to tackle.

In Newport News, a community survey has been launched to hear from families and develop policies. The deadline to fill out the survey is Sunday.

You can fill out the 36-question survey only if you live in Newport News. It's asking you to share your thoughts on safety in the city, experiences with crime, perceptions of causal factors of crime, their input on police and experiences with discrimination.

With more than 1,000 responses so far, the city is calling for more people under 20-years-old to share their input.

Steve Drew, Newport News Police Chief says, "Oftentimes we don't bring young people to the table to hear their concerns, their issues. Getting them involved is a key element, we don't want to overlook that."

This push will allow the city to use the responses to create a strategy for addressing gun violence. One of the goals is to invest in groups that create safe and stronger neighborhoods.

"We currently have 8 homicides this year, compared to this time last year we had 10. Just two weeks ago we were sitting at 4, but we've had 4 in the last 7-8 days," said Chief Drew.

With the uptick in crime, one person told News 3 she is disappointed her hometown is known for so much crime.

Nashanda Holloman, a Newport News resident, said, "I mean it's toxic, it's like sometimes I don't even want to be from this city, and let me be real cause why would somebody want to be from a city that's clearly all about gun violence."

City leaders would like to see younger people take the survey, however, a majority of the people we spoke with were not aware of it.

"Now since I know about the survey I would like to fill it out and see what we can do and come up with the things to kill this gun violence," said Holloman.

"It's going to take more than surveys to curb crime. You have to go to the neighborhoods, you have to go to the community to get the survey done. That's the only way you're going to get the survey done" said Terry Riddick, President of Best Kept Secret Stop the Violence.

"They understand what's going on in their communities and neighborhoods, they look to us as adults to really help them out, help guide them and we have to do that," said Riddick.

As of now, some actions people can take to help keep their loved ones and neighborhoods safe, according to Chief Drew is, focusing on conflict resolution and knowing that public safety is everyone's responsibility. To ensure everyone has the opportunity for their voices to be heard, print copies of the survey are available at all Newport News Public Library branches and community centers.