HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Mayors of 6 of the 7 cities and other local leaders gathered at the Hampton Roads Planning District’s Regional Boardroom Friday to talk about how to stop rising crime in Hampton Roads.
At that last roundtable meeting, the mayors tasked the Chief Administrative Officers to come up with a regional plan to efficiently and effectively deal with gun violence and crime.
On Friday, 10 On Your Side got a glimpse of the direction Hampton Roads is going.
The goal is to figure out how to approach crime as a region, and Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck knows what we are now doing isn’t working.
“We need to focus more on mental health issues, trying to deal with unresolved trauma. There are kids who are experiencing it at a young age, and they are not getting the treatment they need.”
The Mayors, Chief Administrative Officers, and other leaders are dissecting what leads to gun violence and crime and taking steps to resolve the deadly issues.
Mayor Tuck speaks with people incarcerated to find out what went wrong in their lives that led to jail and prison.
“I think there is insecurity growing up as a child. There is trauma when they are incarcerated. There is trauma there and coming out not knowing what to do with the trauma.”
One solution is more instruction in school and discussions about how to resolve conflict.
“Everyone is doing some type of intervention program that is affiliated with conflict resolution, but we aren’t reaching everybody, and we are not reaching the violent offenders,” said Norfolk City Manager Dr. Chip Filer.
The understanding by the leaders is the need to communicate more with each other.
One way to do that is by developing a Regional Crime Dashboard.
“The more input and collaboration we get and the unity with police chiefs getting together that is a good first step,” said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer told his fellow leaders.
The Dashboard yet to be developed will mirror the idea of the COVID-19 Dashboard for data, trouble spots, and trends.
“We have provided you with what is called a fishbone exercise,” Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting told the group as she displayed an image on the screen for the audience.
The diagram was in the shape of the bones of a fish, and there are green bubbles that list the causes of gun violence.
“The notion to the fishbone diagram is to deconstruct the problem,” Bunting continued.
“The problem is gun violence caused by many factors including concentrated poverty which is listed in a green bubble.”
“In Hampton, looking at our statistics, gun violence is in a concentrated number of areas committed by a concentrated number of individuals and their associates…we know that.”
So Bunting explained audiences focus and concentrate resources on those individuals in those limited communities.
“If you focus on just gun violence and you narrow it, and you say it is happening in these specific areas and these specific individuals and their associates, it focuses your attention and makes it easier on how you might address the issue.”
The meeting was a glimpse into how a region is transforming the way it deals with gun violence and crime, realizing whatever has been done in the past is currently not working to the satisfaction of regional leaders.