Newport News

Police chief credits community support for less gun crime, homicides in Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) -- Fewer people are getting shot in Newport News lately, and fewer people are getting killed.

"In January of last year we had 13 shootings in Newport News. In January of this year we had two," said Police Chief Steve Drew.

10 On Your Side looked at the longer trend in homicides using data we compiled for our November investigation, Unsolved But Not Forgotten.

In the last half of 2017, Newport News had 15 homicides. In the next six months, 15 more killings.

Chief Drew took over in July last year, and from that point through December, the city had just seven. And so far this year, no homicides in Newport News.

Drew doesn't want to take the credit himself.

"The number one reason that shootings are down right now is because of this community."

Drew says police interaction with citizens is paying off. He says greater coordination among divisions within the department is another factor. That includes the Community Youth & Outreach Division, the re-establishment of high impact patrols in each precinct, the department's crime analyst and increased visibility of the K-9 Division.

"I'm seeing a shift when I see those calls come in, when I see those people increasing coming to community meeetings."

He wants his officers to continue to get out of their patrol cars and interact with the people they serve.

"I'm not looking for people to go to a neighborhood, write a report, make an arrest and leave. I'm looking for people who care about other people, who want to solve problems and work with citizens. I want to see us interacting with youth. I want to see us holding hands walking in neighborhoods, knocking on doors and making sure that citizens are OK."


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