Norfolk police chief gives update on downtown crime

Norfolk police chief gives update on downtown crime

NORFOLK, Va – Norfolk Police Chief Mark Talbot gave an update on crime downtown to the Downtown Norfolk Civic League. He also discussed some of his goals for the city in his new role.

Some crime in downtown Norfolk has gone down compared to this time last year. Chief Talbot says one of his main goals is to retain officers to address staffing shortages.

“What we’re really talking about is a retention problem. We are loosing police officers earlier in their careers. They are going off and doing different things,” Talbot said.

says his goal is to fill several vacancies.

“Around 243 vacancies. That includes recruits within the organization,” Talbot said.

Last year, the police department had 250 vacancies.

The Downtown Norfolk civic league and the owner of Granby Street Pizza say they haven’t noticed the shortage downtown.

“There’s a good police presence downtown. They do a nice job and you see them walking the streets in the evening and day,” Peter Freda, the owner of Granby Street Pizza said.

“We’ve got a lot more police presence and officers walking the street,” Preston Carraway with the downtown Norfolk Civic League said.

News 3’s Leondra Head sat down with the Preston Carraway, the vice president of the downtown Norfolk Civic League as Chief Talbot gave an update on downtown crime and his goals for the city.

Talbot says crime is down consistently for the entire city.

“The last I looked at homicides in the city, we’re down 44 percent year to date,” Talbot said.

The most widely known crime reported downtown last month were car larcenies. 8 were reported in May. That number down from this time last year when 21 car larcenies were reported.

Burglaries were up downtown and sexual assaults reported in the city of Norfolk for this year went up compared to last year.

Talbot also addressed gang concerns in the city of Norfolk.

“Do we have a gang issue in the city of Norfolk?” Talbot said. “The vast majority of crimes are done in groups. If a gang is 3 or 4 more people committing violent acts then yes we have a gang problem,” Talbot said.

Talbot says one of his main goals is to improve moral and more community policing.

“The heart of police work is community engagement, it is all about being out of your car. Understanding the city and building positive relationships,” Talbot said.

Carraway believes police surveillance cameras downtown have helped curb crime.

“Technology put downtown such as surveillance cameras that have monitored what’s happening on the street, those have all contributed,” Carraway said.

Talbot also said maintaining a good relationship with the district attorney’s office is vital is curbing crime.

“I’m going to make sure the police department builds the best possible cases that we can. I have confidence that he will make sure when we bring dangerous people to him, that he’s going to do everything to do his part,” Talbot said.

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