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Portsmouth Police to hand out free doorbell cameras to fight crime

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Posted at 6:36 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 12:46:50-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Portsmouth Police are rolling out a new crime-fighting initiative that involves more surveillance in neighborhoods. They’ll be handing out free doorbell cameras to neighbors and pay for a one-year membership.

People living on Jenkins Place in the Cradock neighborhood where the latest homicide happened at a home early Monday morning, are in favor of more cameras. Not only do they think it’ll help fight crime, but also solve murders like the one on their street.

Doorbell videos are shared more and more to break a case and catch suspects red handed.

In May, Ring video helped Portsmouth Police eventually track down a suspect who led them on a high-speed chase.

Now, police say neighbors in high crime areas, who don’t already have one, will be getting a doorbell camera called Blink to help curb crime.

“We got killings, somebody dying out here every single day,” said Paul Nicholson of Portsmouth.

Nicholson, 29, has lived in Portsmouth all his life. He said he’s lost loved ones to gun violence and believes the cameras could be an extra set of eyes.

“We always have eyes watching and with those eyes watching that can deter violence or things that don’t supposed to be going on,” Nicholson said.

Interim Police Chief Stephen Jenkins made the announcement earlier this week. He said neighbors will get a free one-year membership.

The hope is to have them register the cameras so investigators can fill in missing puzzle pieces on a case.

“What that gives us is additional eyes and an opportunity to hopefully capture those critical incidents we’re looking for that allows us to solve crimes,” Jenkins said.

DeCarlos Anderson is the vice president of the grassroots group Big HOMIES. The group works with the city on its crime-fighting efforts.

He believes the new tool will stem the tide of violent crime but says it can’t fall on the police alone.

“I know they’re working hard,” Anderson said. “Of course, everybody knows everybody’s understaffed, so everybody has to work together, as far as nonprofits, the police, the community. We have to work together to solve as much crime as we can.”

That would, in turn, make communities safer.

“Have it safe for the younger generations to come,” Nicholson said. “End all this nonsense so we can go back to loving our beautiful city.”

People should be able to get their cameras starting sometime in August. News 3 is still waiting to hear back from city leaders on when they'll issue the cameras and how people can get one.