PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Portsmouth Police Department (PPD) released a crime prevention plan Friday as the department continues to tackle crime in the city.
Police say the plan was created in collaboration with multiple city resources and will be reviewed and updated during the next several months as they consider new methods in crime reduction.
Among several actions the department says it has done is increase its numbers in high-crime areas, including downtown.
PPD has done this through MUD (Maximum Uniform Deployment), where all overhead staff members are required to work at least two shifts twice a month. The PPD says it has also increased its attendance at civic league meetings and community events including directed patrols, foot patrols, and bike patrols to create more community interaction.
The Virginia State Police has also agreed to join PPD on regular patrols across the city.
The Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services (PFRES) has also participated in community events and attended dozens of community parties, clean-up events, among others.
Below are actions and projects the department has done and participated in to help reduce crime:
- Operation Red Ball
- The PPD temporarily suspended all secondary functions within the organization. All off-duty personnel were recalled, and all overhead staff positions were reassigned to task force operations.
- The newly formed Task Force focused on violence suppression and gun seizures in statistically high activity areas.
- Operation Safe Neighborhoods
- Operation Safe Neighborhoods is a holistic approach to crime reduction.
- It has four principles:
- prevention & intervention
- strategic enforcement
- Violence Interrupters and Trauma Counseling
- A program where community members intervene before violent crime and after the occurrence of violent crime to reduce the likelihood of retaliation.
- This includes a trauma counselor to help victims of violent crime and their families.
- School Safety
- School Resource Officers (SROs) have also been placed in Portsmouth schools to create a point of contact for students.
- PPD has obtained a grant for the GREAT program (a gang-resistance program) and the RESPECT program (a program that promotes safe and healthy relationships).
- All Portsmouth SROs have undergone RESPECT and GREAT training.
- PPD maintains an active PAL Program with board members headed by a police officer who facilitates meetings and organizes and directs activities for youth.
- PFRES and the PPD are set to hold a joint Public Safety Academy in August to show 13–18-year-olds the different areas within Public Service.
- Investigation and On-Scene Efforts
- The PPD has added personnel to the Investigation Bureau to increase clearance rates.
- It’s also requested that the Crime Stopper award be increased from $1000 to $5000 for murder cases.
- In partnership with the ATF and other Hampton Roads Law Enforcement Agencies, PPD acquired access to NIBIN (gun ballistics tracing).
- The City of Portsmouth has also begun to acquire ShotSpotter, which would augment police resources and decrease response times to shots fired calls and save lives.
- The PPD is also partnering with the FBI to help identify repeat offenders that are worthy of Federal attention for prosecution.
- Mobile Integrated Health Program
- A patient-centered, innovative delivery model offering on-demand, needs-based care, and preventive services, delivered in the patient’s home or mobile environment.
- This will help curve opioid abuse and prevent overdoses, provide mental health services, and implement care for an aging population.
- Operation Ceasefire Portsmouth
- This is a new gun violence intervention grant that the PPD is trying to acquire.
- PPD is currently working on a video project in collaboration with the City Marketing and Video Team and Stop the Violence 757.
- These videos highlight local parents who have lost their children to gun violence in Portsmouth.
- The videos will be part of a campaign to prevent gun violence and encourage citizens to help solve homicides by sending in anonymous tips.