Norfolk city councilman, community leader address crime wave

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The sounds of gunfire are sending some neighborhoods in Norfolk closer to a crime crisis.

There were four shootings Monday night. So far this year 19 people have been killed in the city. There have also already been five shootings involving police officers, four of those were fatal.

The question on the minds of many is, what does it take to stop the violence that seems to be plaguing Norfolk?

Councilman Paul Riddick said, “I think what we’re going to have to do here in Norfolk, in Huntersville is code enforcement. I think we’re going to have to be a little heavy-handed in this city.”

Rick James, Legal Chair of the Norfolk NAACP said, “It’s part of the families, it’s the communities, it’s the city council. Everybody has to show that we are making public safety our number one priority along with public education.”

Those are just two opinions of what can possibly curb crime. Both men agree community policing will help as well.

“We’ve got to get officers out of the cars. They have to walk up and down the street, they have to interact with the different residents that they see,” Riddick said.

“I think community policing is very, very important, and it’s an important role to play and I think our city leaders should be out in the forefront, and building those relationships with our communities,” James said.

However the lack of trust is a barrier, so the Norfolk NAACP is trying to help.

“A lot of citizens just feel uncomfortable at this particular moment dialing 911 or talking to the police force for whatever reason,” James said.

The NAACP created a tip line that encourages citizens to report crimes and to help police. James said no one person or department can fix the crime problem.

“Families, grandparents, teachers, educators, police officers, community leaders, the NAACP we all have a role to play,” James said.

Councilman Paul Riddick is familiar with the crime problem. His home is on Washington Avenue, blocks from where police shot a man held up in a house, not far from where another man was killed and that man’s family says police shot his brother. You can see the memorial for the homicide victim from Riddick’s front door.

“We get it straight here, the next thing it might be in Park Place. There are certain parts of Ocean View that we can expect this to happen, and the summer’s not even here yet,” Riddick said. “I think we just need to recognize the fact that these are hot spots. They are all over the city. They are all over the country, and its going to take time to address them and we plan to address them.”

Councilman Riddick told 10 On Your Side the city is working on plans as we head into Summer; which is typically when we see a spike in crime. Although he wouldn’t talk about the plans specifically, we expect to learn more details in Tuesday night’s council meeting.

10 On Your Side tried to interview Police Chief Michael Goldsmith for this story. A spokeswoman told us he would address crime and body cameras in Tuesday night’s council meeting.

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