Violent crime jumps 20 percent in Hampton

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – Violent crime is on the rise in Hampton, according to statistics unveiled by police on Wednesday.

In a presentation before city council, Police Chief Terry Sult expressed concerns over the city’s crime levels.

From 2014 to 2015, the total number of violent crimes rose 20 percent. The city recorded more murders, rapes and robberies, but less aggravated assault.

Property crime rose roughly 3 percent overall. Combining both property and violent crimes, the overall rate rose 4.37 percent.

“We’re not gonna arrest our way out of these situations,” Sult said. “We’re gonna have to do it through prevention, through long-term dedication and focusing on our youth.”

Joining Sult during the presentation were Major Orrin Gallop, Major Kenny Ferguson and U.S. Attorney Amy Cross.

Together, the four discussed the state of crime within the city.

Officials touted efforts to engage with community members, and proposed increased engagement as a way to combat crime.

“The Hampton Police Division is aligning itself with neighborhoods, engaged in the neighborhoods, yes from an enforcement perspective, but mainly as a priority on prevention and engaging in youth at an early level,” Sult said.

The presentation noted several partnerships with various organizations, from Parents Against Bullying, to the NAACP and the Boys and Girls Club.

Investigators also mentioned the division’s partnerships with nearby police departments and federal agencies.

The city is reportedly the only in Virginia in which a Special United States Attorney reports specifically to the police division.

“So far we’ve already indicted, in under a year, 10 gun defendants,” said Cross. “The numbers for the gang and drug defendants are actually higher.”

But still, with crime on the rise, police are asking for help.

Chief Sult said that more resources are needed, namely, more officers. In 2015, 18 officers resigned and 11 retired. Five others have retired so far in 2016, and 60 more are eligible over the next five years.

Several city council members voiced support for the police. A longtime resident who attended the meeting told 10 On Your Side he is happy with the division.

“Overall I would say our Hampton police department is pretty good,” said Harold Pittman. “I feel safe.”

Police said that historically, Hampton typically falls in the middle when it comes to overall crime in the seven cities.

In 2014, Hampton ranked as the second safest when it came to violent crime. That statistic for 2015 isn’t yet available.

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