Hampton police create Community Response Team to target violent crime

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A current uptick in violent crime has Hampton police on edge.

Since October 15, nine people have been shot in six separate incidents. Two people died.

Today, 10 On Your Side spoke with Hampton police to learn about their new plan to cut down on crime. Their main focuses are on gun, drug and gang-related crimes. But police know they will not be able to reduce these crimes without the help of the community.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. I think it’s bad,” said David, who has lived near Shell Drive in Hampton for 60 years.

“The killings, the killings that have been going on up and down. Buckroe, this area, back there on Norwood Circle a couple of months ago,” David said.

This year, Hampton has had 19 homicides. Guns were involved in 17 of those.

An increase in crimes involving guns is a big reason why Hampton police have started the Community Response Team. The team will be made up of about 12 officers from different areas within the police division.

“They will be in our high crime areas giving a stronger police presence.  We will have them being professionally aggressively proactive,” said Corporal Ashley Jenrette, a Public Information Officer with Hampton Police.

As an example, Corporal Jenrette says these officers may go straight to citations, instead of just giving warnings. But before the team hits the streets, police will hold a series of community meetings.

“We want them to get involved.  We want our community to assist us,” Corporal Jenrette said.

Police want community members to tell them what types of crimes they are seeing and where they are seeing these crimes. Without that information, not much will change.

Corporal Jenrette said, “It’s going to take more than just the police division to get these guns off the street and we are relying heavily on the community to help us with that.”

The first day people will see the community response team out is Saturday, November 5. Police say they will have the information on those community meetings on their social media accounts.