VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate was supposed to walk and talk to folks in the Indian Lakes community on Tuesday about their concerns. At the last minute, he bowed out because other matters came up and sent a captain in his place.
The goal of the event: to discuss face-to-face the crime issues so many neighborhoods face.
“Our goal is not only to reduce crime, it’s also to reduce our calls for service,” said Capt. Scott Wichtendahl.
Wichtendahl, who oversees the city’s 4th Precinct, spent the evening walking with folks at Indian Lakes as he listened to their top concerns in the community.
“The big issue that we’re talking about, that we’re finding out a lot about is the larcenies from vehicles,” Wichtendahl explained.
The walks not only give officers a sense of what’s going on in their precincts, but help them get information out directly to the neighborhoods they serve.
“The biggest thing we want citizens to know is that they can take an active role in helping us keep them safe,” Wichtendahl stated.
Citizens like Robert Solsky, who in the four years he’s lived at the apartment complex, had his car broken into twice and unintentionally foiled a third attempt just last week.
“I actually saw the person and that was just a few days ago. I was taking him, my dog out, around 4:00 in the morning and that’s usually when that occurs,” Solsky recalled.
Solsky told 10 On Your Side he always locks his car and makes sure no valuables are inside but even that’s not enough to deter thieves from breaking windows and wants to see more of a police presence in the neighborhood. It’s something Wichtendahl says the department is taking seriously and has since added a new community liaison officer.
“We’re introducing him to the community and his role is to work with the community, work with the property management to bridge that gap and to help make a difference,” Wichtendahl said.
The Virginia Beach police department along with Chief Neudigate try to do community walks several times a year.