Taking Back the Community: One Year Later

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Last July, 10 On Your Side began an initiative to look at crime and violence called "Taking Back the Community."

10 On Your Side did a month-long series of stories showing you people in the community who were trying to combat violence. There will be more of those reports this month.

#TakeItBack on WAVY.com

Instead of looking at statistics, we wanted to show you the faces of those taken in 2017 by senseless violence: People who aren't just a number.

“Each person is a son, brother, sister, aunt or uncle,” said Baltimore’s Dave Ng. “It is a rippling effect. It is just sad."

They are loved ones, like 17-year-old Kaison Mitchell, who was killed in a double shooting in Norfolk.

"It's very sad because all these people are young and they barely got to live their life," added Garrick Holt, of Virginia Beach.

Also a victim of this violence is Latoya Davis, whose killer is still on the loose.

“It's a sickness,” said Tina Stofer from Indianapolis. “It's a sickness. People don't have respect for anybody. I think children need to be taught respect."

Or Larry Williams, found dead lying in the street.

"This is a father's worst nightmare,”  added Farmville’s Darnell Word.

In 2016, there were 65 murders in Hampton Roads in the first six months. That's compared to the 58 murders in the same period this year. One is too many, and as we learned, the issue isn't contained to the area.

"We had the two little girls that got lost in the park and somebody killed them," Stofer said.

"Some people at the age of 90 are still fighting for their lives, but these guys didn't even get that fighting chance," Holt added.

Norfolk again leads the way with the most murders in Hampton Roads in 2017. Out of the 17 murder cases in the city, eight remain unsolved.

"Something does need to be done,” Holt said. “We need to crack down."

What needs to be done to cut down on the violence?

"You need money to help the inner cities and people who have a background of poverty," Ng added.

"If we could get rid of a lot of drugs, I think that would help," said Richard Stofer.

“All the murder and killing, this is what they [kids] see now a days,” Holt said. “If you watch your kids and monitor what they are doing, this stuff would fall down a lot."

"I'd love to be young again and tell them, 'Stop, don't do that,'” Tina Stofer said. “It is sad that it is everywhere."

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