Slain Virginian-Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins' father reacts to new security cameras in Downtown Norfolk a month after daughter's death

Surveillance cameras on Granby Street
Posted at 9:06 PM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-29 22:58:00-04

NORFOLK, Va. — The city is taking aim at crime in Downtown Norfolk. City officials are taking steps to improve safety, starting with installing surveillance cameras.

The city is taking extra steps to address crime concerns after a mass shooting on Granby Street killed three people and injured two others. It happened more than a month and a half ago in front of Chicho's.

The memorial for one of the victims, Virginian-Pilot reporter Sierra Jenkins, remains, and now, multiple cameras are up.

Kayla Burfoot and Sierra Jenkins.png

Mobile surveillance cameras are bringing a new image to the downtown area. Maurice Jenkins, Sierra's father, is calling it long overdue.

"I mean, it's not a good feeling when something like this happens. You want to know who's behind it," said Maurice.

According to police, for the first time, the city is now putting up six cameras up and down Granby Street with the hope of reducing crime and keeping an eye on the crowds after the deadly March 19 shooting.

"Somebody goes into the 7-Eleven and robs the store... what do you see? You see a picture on the news of the suspect walking out the store. We could be in that exact same position, or could've been if the cameras were down here," said Maurice.

It hasn't been easy for Sierra's father as he continues to cope with his daughter's death. However, with no suspect, no motive and no photos, he hopes the cameras are here to stay.

"I'd like to think that if someone was out here looking for trouble and you see this big camera standing here with lights flashing over you, you'll say, 'This isn't the place," he said.

Each camera offers the ability to pan the area, tilt and zoom in and out. Norfolk Police have direct access and the ability to see anything out of the ordinary that may be happening.

Huge solar panels are powering the system and are parked along Granby.

Related: Norfolk city leaders working to fix surveillance cameras in all parking garages downtown

"We know that bad people come out and bad things happen. When that happens, that stuff needs to be out there," Maurice said.

Sierra's father is sharing a message to the person behind the crime.

"The person that did this needs to know that they took that beautiful person away from myself, her mother and the rest of her family, her friends. But more importantly, they took all of her opportunities away from her," he said.

The cameras became operational on April 27, and police tell us as of now they do not know if they're to stay permanently.

The city is renting the cameras from LiveView Technologies for approximately $1,300 a month, and there have been talks of using them to assist with large-scale events such as Harbor Fest and the Patriotic Festival.

More of News 3's coverage on the victims of the Granby Street shooting: