NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk City Council members met Tuesday night to talk about solving the seemingly endless violence on Granby Street.
This comes after five people were shot – two of them, including Sierra Jenkins, 25, a Virginian-Pilot reporter and Devon Harris, 25, a semi-pro football player from Portsmouth, were killed - over the weekend outside a popular nightspot.
City leaders are calling for more security measures downtown, a task that will be challenging after Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone says the force is down more than 200 officers.
But the main challenge is trying to implement measures immediately to keep people safe.
More than 70 passionate speakers signed up to voice their concerns on various topics. Many spoke out about the violent crime. They want change now.
“I’m for the people and I always will be until I die,” said community activist James Washington. “Our kids are dying in the streets.”
The GM of Gershwin’s on Granby Street said, "Blood now runs through the streets. It's a very big problem for me, for our tenants, for our business."
"Many of us no longer feel safe to walk at night in Downtown Norfolk," one local woman said.
Jenkin’s cousin said, "My cousin was 25 years old. She should not be getting buried by her family and friends. And the pain of those around us and the other families are being seen every day."
During a work session before the meeting, council member Courtney Doyle proposed changes to city policy to crack down on crime.
Doyle suggested all downtown bar and restaurants should close at midnight instead of 2 a.m., reviewing their permits and holding off opening new businesses.
“I think we need to focus on our downtown; I know you're very focused on the community as a whole,” Doyle said. “Right now, we have a big issue downtown, and we need to take downtown back. We don't have control of our downtown. I'm suggesting a few things, and it needs to be multi-pronged.”
That formal city council meeting kicked off shortly after 7 p.m. and ended just after 11 p.m.
News 3 reporter Antoinette DelBel attended the meeting.