HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Taking back the community is an all-hands-on-deck effort.

Wednesday the head of the FBI visited Hampton Roads, highlighting the federal, state and local collaboration to combat crime.

This includes getting violent gang members and illegal guns off the streets.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said two violent crime task forces here in Hampton Roads are doing their part to get violent criminals off the streets.

Together they’ve worked to get dozens of violent gang members behind bars in just the last year alone.

“They’re single teams all people from different agencies, shoulder to shoulder, trying to have the sum be greater than all of the parts to tackle the violent crime problem,” Wray said.

The Tidewater Violent Crimes Task Force and the Safe Streets Peninsula Task Force are working to prosecute violent gang members, seize firearms and crack down on illegal drugs.

In just a few months last year, Wray said the Norfolk field office took 42 criminals off the streets as part of a nationwide operation.

“Separately, a multi-year investigation by the Safe Streets Peninsula Task Force resulted in 54 arrests across the Peninsula of violent gang members distributing large quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and firearms,” Wray said.

Wray said these task forces, made up of agents, local officers and sheriffs deputies, are the principal driver for working to stop crime before it happens.

He said these partnerships are essential for building safer communities.

“We are part of this community too,” Wray said, “and we want to make sure that we are all one team one fight against the many threats that we have to protect the public from.”

Wray said these aren’t just officers patrolling the streets, but instead, they’re building cases to maximize the impact.

“They’re dismantling violent gangs so they don’t come back or with the terrorist threat, they’re working together as a team to go after terror subjects,” Wray said. “They’re all working together dedicated for the long haul to tackle the threat.”

Wray also touched on recruitment at the FBI.

He said while recruitment is down at many police departments across the country, they’re actually seeing their application numbers skyrocket to near-record highs.

“At a time when law enforcement in this country is experiencing real challenges with recruiting and retention for example, the FBI over the last several years is attracting applicants in near record numbers,” said Wray. “The mission, the work is going great, going strong.”

He also said even when numbers are down, he’s thankful departments still see the value in letting their officers serve on these task forces.

“They see the value in putting their officers on our task forces when they could arguably not afford to spare them,” Wray said, “and I think that’s a powerful testament to the trust and confidence that our partners have in us.”

Members of the FBI Norfolk Citizens Academy Alumni Association were also honored Wednesday. The local chapter supports the FBI agents while they’re working.

They recently provided food and drinks to the team as they investigated the mass shooting at Walmart in Chesapeake.