PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Portsmouth Police Department is redirecting resources to address gun violence, Mayor Shannon Glover told News 3.
Units, including traffic enforcement, can be used to try and stop gun violence, Glover said, adding that there is no timetable on how long the measures would last.
"We need a different focus and that's hwy we now have this violence response suppression team that's going to focus for whatever time frame we need them to focus on working in areas where we see the greatest incidents of gun violence," Glover said.
The city ended 2021 with 35 homicides, the highest number in years.
The city is also considering using the ShotSpotter technology to help address the gun violence problem in the city.
They're also partnering with other law enforcement agencies like ATF and State Police to get guns off the street.
"Gun violence is unacceptable and stopping it is our number one priority," Glover said. "We have to hold individuals accountable for their actions."
Community groups, like Stop the Violence 757, are calling on the city to step up. "It just brings up emotions that I have hidden down," said Monica Atkins, who lost her son to gun violence in 2014. "To see other people's children that are laying in the street, to me - that's my child too. We have to come to together to find a way to get these guns off the street."
The group thinks the city could do more to offer funding to grass roots organizations. "That's what we need to get to the bottom of - not what's being talked, but what is being done," said Freddie Taylor, Sr., of Stop the Violence 757.
Mayor Glover says they are working with these community groups and says it's going to take the whole city to work with police. "The number one priority as an elected leader from where I sit is safety," he said. "If we don't have a safe community, we don't have a community."