Newport News asks neighbors to come together to plan how to fight crime

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Dozens of people came out to the Downing Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News to fight back against crime.

The City of Newport News reached out to the community to ask for their help in developing a 3-5 year plan on gang violence prevention.

City leaders wanted to hear from neighbors personal experiences, and how they’ve been impacted by violence.

The room was split up by tables, and the city asked each table to brainstorm, come together and think of a few main ideas they think could help.

“Some of us need to reach out for them instead of pulling away from them, and talk to them,” said neighbor Kimberly Bethea.

The new chief of police was also sitting at a table with neighbors working to establish what could work for their city.

Some of the ideas were having youth neighborhood watches, and physically going into neighborhoods and speaking with kids and teens.

Neighbors also suggested coming up with more activities, and offering youth jobs that will give them a sense of purpose.

The mayor says he was happy to see the seats filled to help with an important goal that he believes will help Newport News.

“If people don’t feel safe they’re not going to stay here, business will not want to come, and this won’t be a vibrant city, which I think is what we all want,” said Mayor McKinley Price.

The city says there will be another one of these meetings on August 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Denbigh community center. The city will take advice from Tuesday’s meeting and the future meeting and try to have a plan by October.

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