Norfolk police chief addresses spike in violent crime

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Police Chief Michael Goldsmith addressed the “significant increase” in violent crime before city council on Tuesday.

During a council work session, Goldsmith said that violent crime in the city has spiked 14 percent this year; overall crime has increased by 10 percent.

“We’re going to have to attack this from a lot of different levels,” he said.

So far this year, there have been 15 homicides, four deadly officer-involved shootings and a officer-involved shooting that was not fatal.

Goldsmith attributed the spike in violence to several factors. He said there is also an emerging culture which has no value for human life.

“I don’t know where that started,” he told 10 On Your Side. “But we’ve got groups of young people now that – this becomes a respect thing. They’ll get into a fight and then retaliation comes in the form of a gun.”

Goldsmith said several remedial measures are already underway. The department is shifting up some of its staffing, and placing more special-ops teams on the streets. He said increased patrolling is also key.

Looking to the future, the department will soon have new software that utilizes social media to combat crime. Goldsmith said he is also looking into technology that would turn police body cameras on automatically, without the officer needing to do so manually.

Several council members chimed in during the meeting, asking questions and offering proposed solutions.

Vice Mayor Angelia Williams Graves said that the community needs to unite and work together to solve these issues.

“It’s been very heartbreaking. These are peoples’ lives,” she said. “I think that as a community, we need to do more than march and rally. I think we actually have to sit down and talk to each other.”

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