PORTSMOUTH, Va – Since January 1 Portsmouth has had 87 shootings.
In the Chief’s quarterly forum, Interim Police Chief Stephen Jenkins says the city is in conversation with Shotspotter and a company called Raven to address shootings in the city.
“We’re looking at programs like Shotspotter and also the other one I mentioned Raven by Flock Industries. It will allow us to hopefully put our officers in the right place when those incidents happen,” Jenkins said.
Shotspotter and Raven are a technology that pinpoints the exact location of where gunshots are fired, helping respond crime faster.
“We can hopefully get officers to that area as soon as possible so there is no confusion between a firecracker or backfire but actually gunshots,” Jenkins said.
The city is in talks with both companies, Shotspotter and Raven for the technology.
“We’re still in the procurement phase. We’ve done a lot of due diligence with the companies and had them come out and do demos. We’re further along with one than the other,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins says two programs will be put in schools to help deter crime. The G.R.E.A.T. program in middle schools, which stands for Gang Resistance Education and Training. The RESPECT program wioll be in Portsmouth’s high schools, a 9-month program starting this fall. R.E.S.P.E.C.T., standing for Refocusing, Education with Students & Police Enlisting Courts & Training.
“The G.R.E.A.T. program is something we started doing training on last year. We’re looking to do it full fledged in the upcoming school year. We look forward to it. The officer are excited about it. We’re looking to partner with the school system and hopefully they will embrace it,” Jenkins tells News 3’s Leondra Head.
News 3’s Leondra Head caught up with Jenkins before the forum at a community walk on Jenkins Place. The community walk comes after a woman was shot and killed Sunday and a man seriously injured. He’s encouraging citizens to get involved and to say something, if they see something.
“We want to reinvent the community watches and see if we can bring those back. They were very successful in the past. We’ve gotten away from them and if we can re-engage with that, I think we can have some success,” Jenkins said.
Chief Jenkins says police will be giving out Blink cameras to residents to put at their front doors starting next month in August to deter crime. The city will be paying for a 1-year membership for residents.