VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A week after shootings at the Oceanfront took the lives of two people, community leaders and businesses continue to deal with the fallout.
Virginia Beach Police have increased patrols along Atlantic Avenue, riding up and down the street with flashing lights according to businesses who spoke to 10 On Your Side.
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EJ works at a bar along Atlantic Avenue and says he understands the need for increased patrols.
“If I wasn’t working down here or whatever, I’d probably be timid to come down here too,” he said.
Last week, Jaketa Thompson organized a conversation with community and faith leaders to discuss a path forward.
A week later, she says she’s still getting phone calls from concerned community members who want to come together and find a way to help in the future.
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“Whether you’re a police person or you’re somebody who is in the minority community, it’s just been a very rocky time and I think that there needs to be more togetherness and more understanding,” she said.
She’s optimistic as the conversation continues, but worries businesses may suffer.
“I know it’s going to take time and nothing is perfect but it’s good to see they were in fact listening,” she said. “I think the conversation we started last week has lead to other conversations.”
EJ said the increased patrols have started scaring away customers, hurting businesses like the one he works at that have taken a hit over the last year.
He feels police could’ve done more before last week’s shootings to prevent them.
“It could’ve been very preventative before, but I didn’t see one police car down here before the shooting,” he said. “But afterwards, now they’re down here heavy and it’s scaring away business.”
Thompson says continued conversations are key to finding an option that doesn’t hurt businesses.
She also says trust between the community and police needs to be strengthened as well.
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