Activist community

Newport News police chief and community activist call on young people to complete survey

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Gun violence in Hampton Roads continues to be an issue community leaders seek to address.

At Newport News, a community inquiry has been launched to hear from families and develop policy. The deadline for completing the survey is Sunday.

You can only complete the 36-question survey if you live in Newport News. It asks you to share your thoughts on safety in the city, your experiences with crime, your perceptions of the causal factors of crime, their contribution to policing, and your experiences with discrimination.

With over 1,000 responses so far, the city is calling on more people under the age of 20 to share their input.

Newport News Chief of Police Steve Drew said: “A lot of times we don’t bring young people to the table to hear their concerns, their issues. Engaging them is key, we don’t want to ignore that. “

This push will allow the city to use the responses to create an anti-gun violence strategy. One of the goals is to invest in groups that create safer and stronger neighborhoods.

“We currently have 8 homicides this year, compared to this time last year we had 10. Just two weeks ago we were at 4, but we had 4 in the 7 to 8 last few days,” Chief Drew said.

With crime on the rise, one person told News 3 that they were disappointed their hometown was notorious for so much crime.

Newport News resident Nashanda Holloman said, “I mean it’s toxic, it’s like sometimes I don’t even want to be from this town, and let me be real because why would anyone would he like to come from a city that is clearly about gun violence.”

City leaders would like youth to complete the survey, but the majority of people we spoke to were unaware of this.

“Now, since I’m aware of the survey, I’d like to fill it out and see what we can do and come up with things to kill this gun violence,” Holloman said.

“It will take more than surveys to reduce crime. You have to go to the neighborhoods, you have to go to the community to do the survey. That’s the only way to do the survey,” said Terry Riddick. , President of Best Kept Secret Stop the Violence.

“They understand what’s going on in their communities and their neighborhoods, they look to us as adults to really help them, to guide them and we have to do that,” Riddick said.

Going forward, some steps people can take to help keep their loved ones and neighborhoods safe, Chief Drew says, focus on resolving conflict and knowing that public safety is everyone’s responsibility. To ensure everyone has the opportunity to have their voices heard, printed copies of the survey are available at all branches and community centers of the Newport News Public Library.