HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — New Hampton Police Chief Jimmie Wideman updated the City Council on crime on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
The chief described steps the Hampton Police Division will take to address a rise in crime. There was a 4.7% decrease in violent crimes from 2021-2022, however, crime has begun increasing again in 2023.
In Hampton, there were five more homicides in the first six months of 2023 than the same time last year, an increase of around 38%.
Wideman said most violent crimes are among people who know each other, and doesn’t happen randomly as often.
“Random violence against innocent parties, or random citizens is infrequent,” Wideman said.
Wideman said his department will create two response teams to focus on different parts of the city and different methods of community policing and crime reduction. They will focus on guns, gangs, drugs, violent crime hot spots and known violent offenders, according to a press release.
“We are hoping to get them in middle school or high school before they get recruited into social groups or gangs,” Wideman said.
Of the seven urban cities, Hampton was second-lowest, after Suffolk, in total serious crimes per capita in 2022, according to a press release. Hampton was also second-lowest in violent crime, after Virginia Beach, with 1.4 violent crimes per 1,000 people.
Police found that larceny accounts for more than 75% of all serious crimes, and recommended not to leave valuable in cars and always keep it locked.
Most gun crimes are committed by adults between the ages of 18 and 30, Wideman said. Prevention programs by the Office of Youth and Young Adult Opportunities, police and other agencies work to identify at an early age those likely to commit crimes or be victims.
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