Newport News police chief holds question-and-answer session


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Police Chief Steve Drew will hold another round of social media discussions this week.

The chats are scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19, for noon and 6 p.m. on the police department’s Facebook page. Drew is expected to talk about city crime statistics and answer questions from residents. 

To join the conversation, click here.

During his afternoon chat, Drew shared that violent crime is down by 7% and property crime is down by 14% compared to last year. 

There have not been any homicides in the city so far this year. 

“We ended up with a 5% reduction last year, we’re a little bit over 12% this year, just two months in,” Drew said.  “I attribute that to two things: the citizens of Newport News, the businesses, the faith leaders, the individuals that live here that are taking their neighborhoods back, that are being proactive that are sharing information with the police department.  Then, I attribute it to the hard work and dedication of the men and women, sworn and civilian, that work in this department.”

The number of weapons taken off of the streets has nearly doubled from 58 this time in 2018 to 107.  

“I think that’s played a big role in the reductions that we’ve see in our shootings, aggravated assaults, so we’re being very, very proactive there,” he said.  “We’re trying to get ahead of the game and not be as reactive.”

Drew has many goals for 2019, one is to connect with teens and children in the community.  He’s already hosted one of six open youth forums at high schools in the city.  

“I want to know how they feel about their police department, I want to know how they feel about their community, I want to know how they feel about their neighborhood, I want to know what they think about some of the violence that occurs here in the city,” Drew said.

He is also launching a new program where police officers “adopt” an elementary school. 

Drew said, “We’ll read to students maybe one day a week, we can go and have lunch in the cafeteria with our young people, our elementary students, to see them when they come to school in the morning and when they leave on the buses in the evening.”

Drew also said he’s working on new strategies to combat drug overdoses this year.  In 2018, he says the department saw more than 100 overdoses, at least 30 of them fatal.  He is working to develop new strategies to reduce these numbers. 

As always, he wants to remind residents that if they see a crime happening, to call police or the CrimeLine at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. 

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