NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News police walked through a community affected by gun violence to make a statement to those who live there.
Dozens of officers and other residents came together at the Aqueduct Apartments on Monday afternoon.
“Things are changing in Newport News,” said police chief Steve Drew.
Drew decided to hold the walk after he says a resident approached him Saturday morning following the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Chre’tien Brown.
“She said why are you here now and you know what? We were out here after an event happened,” Drew said.
So, he wanted to do something to be proactive in hopes of finding the killers and showing the neighborhood they care.
Since being sworn in as police chief, Drew has pushed for more community engagement. He believes it’s helped reduce crime.
Last year at this time, there were six murders and 30 people shot, according to Drew.
This year, there have been four killings, three of them will be criminally processed, and 14 people shot.
Overall, he says violent and property crimes are both down in the city.
“Remember every one of those is an individual, a neighborhood. It’s important that we get out of our offices and interact with the people we’re here to protect. That’s what we’re here to do today,” Drew said.
Officers also greeted students as they got off the school buses. Drew says the kids are the most important reason they showed up.
“A few of them walked inside and told the officers thank you. You can’t buy that,” he said.
But you can earn respect and trust. It’s something that can help make the city a better place to live.
Drew says they were able to receive tips and information from residents to help them find who fired the shots.
And, he hopes the community will get on board to help keep the neighborhood safe.
“I need for every individual who lives here, every young person to know we care about them. We care about them and we’re here. We’re not going anywhere,” he said.
If you have any information about this weekend’s deadly shooting, you can call the Crime line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.
Tips are anonymous.