'When you kill a person, you're killing families': Norfolk mother who lost son to gun violence knows it's a problem

City launches survey to address safety concerns
Janis Taylor.png
Posted at 10:15 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 23:31:09-04

NORFOLK, Va. — Safety concerns in Norfolk are on the top of the radar, according to police. Recently, they launched a community-based survey aimed at getting families' input on how to make the community safer.

The city is trying to find out if residents feel safe, whether they have concerns about crime and what they think police should do about it.

News 3 spoke with a mother whose son was gunned down.

Janis Taylor knows all too well that gun violence is a real problem. She lost her son 18 years ago, but the pain is still fresh.

"When you kill a person, you're killing families; you're killing your family. What you're doing is tearing lives [apart]," Taylor said.

Monday, the sound of gunfire ringing out in Norfolk injured a man and boy. A community activist says this has got to stop.

"It's too much violence in the City of Norfolk because Norfolk is not as big as Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago or Los Angeles or New York. We got big-city problems right here within the two-mile radius," said James Washington with Stop the Violence.

Now, the city is trying to hear from residents. A new survey launched by Norfolk Police is aiming to understand the root causes of violence and the effects of crime.

"It's about identifying those community needs based on their feedback - not our statistics; not our crime stats," said Lt. Mike Thomas with the Norfolk Police Department.

But those crime stats are alarming. The City of Norfolk has already had 20 homicides this year. According to police, the city had 18 homicides around this time last year.

"It hurts me so bad when I see other families that have to go through these same type of things," said Taylor.

The survey is asking many questions.

"Do you feel safe going out during the day? Do you feel safe going out during the nighttime? If you don't feel safe, what are your concerns what are you fearful of?" said Thomas.

Taylor says the community she calls home can be improved.

"My biggest concern is not a band aid; it's a solution: Leave your guns at home," said Taylor.

News 3 asked if Taylor plans to take this survey, and she said, "Of course."

Norfolk city officials will look into the results from the survey in a final report done by Crime, Equity, and Justice Research Policy (CCEJRP). This might sound familiar to you because this survey is similar to the one that Newport News launched in March.