NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Late Thursday afternoon, Norfolk police announced more officers will be patrolling in the downtown Norfolk area Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights until further notice.
The announcement comes on the heels of a shooting last Saturday that injured three people and left two 25-year-olds dead.
Police Chief Larry Boone told reporters Tuesday they could increase staffing downtown, as they have in the past, to quell the violence.
“We pull from other units, specialty units. We offer overtime as well. We have to do this. I understand the challenges, but we have to do this, and I believe we will,” he said Tuesday.
“I think it is an excellent idea, and I like to see the police out here. It’s a good feeling,” said Gregory Freda, who helps operate Granby Street Pizza.
He says it’s a good feeling to see the police on the beat. It’s reassuring, even in daylight, it’s important to see the police and they are part of the community.
“Certain types of business, I think they should handle the cost of extra security, but the average business here cannot provide their own security program,” Freda said.
Chichos Backstage said they would be looking into hiring off-duty law enforcement to monitor crowds outside. We asked for more details, but the business operator did not call us back.
Douglas Cameron says the increased police presence will help. Sierra Jenkins, one of the two killed Saturday, was a friend to Douglas Cameron’s family.
“This is supposed to be the safest part of downtown Norfolk. We got people getting shot and no one knows who shot Sierra,” Cameron said.
Nate Liebold, who works on Granby Street and is like most 10 On Your Side has met since the shooting, feels safe on Granby Street, even at night.
“Police are down here to make people feel safe. Restaurants, bars, it’s not a bad thing… I’ve come down here for years, and I have felt safe, so some of the news is shocking and surprising.” Liebold said.
“I’m currently working with the city manager to find other unique ways to create more police presence,” Boone said.
Boone wants more officers, more presence, but not too much.
“We don’t want to look like the military and that we’re occupying Granby Street, but we need to find a healthy balance,” he said.