Norfolk mayor pushes for powerful response to latest gun violence in State of the City speech – Day by day Press

Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander vowed to make use of his powers to combat again towards a wave of latest gun violence that has killed three folks, together with a Virginian-Pilot reporter, and injured 5 extra within the metropolis.

“Let me be clear: We will not tolerate crime in the city of Norfolk or the Hampton Roads region,” Alexander advised the viewers of the annual State of the City occasion hosted by the Hampton Roads Chamber Thursday.

The speech got here after the sudden retirement announcement of Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone, who has been in that place since 2016.

“Larry gave us 33 years of faithful and dedicated service,” Alexander stated. “We wish him well.”

Alexander outlined a number of short-term steps the town was taking to assist scale back crime, together with:

  • a discount of authorized weapons by buyback packages,
  • reviewing enterprise licenses to make sure they’re working below right security protocols,
  • updating cameras and growing the police presence all through the town,
  • increasing the usage of license plate readers and
  • changing streetlights with LED bulbs.

The mayor additionally proposed a 5% wage improve for all metropolis staff and a $2.3 million step improve for all public security staff with six or extra years of expertise within the subsequent metropolis finances. The spate of gun violence comes amid a staffing scarcity for the Norfolk Police Department, which Boone lately stated has greater than 200 vacancies.

This yr, at the least 17 folks have been killed in Norfolk, together with 15 in shootings, in keeping with a murder database maintained by The Virginian-Pilot. Two shootings prior to now three weeks occurred in a busy part of downtown Norfolk — a March 19 taking pictures outdoors Chicho’s Pizza Backstage killed two folks and injured three extra, and a Saturday taking pictures at MacArthur Center killed one man and injured two extra folks.

In different bulletins from the occasion, Alexander stated WR Systems, a Fairfax-based navy contractor, could be increasing its Norfolk campus and including a number of hundred new positions. The firm replaces and repairs ship navigation programs on many Navy vessels, amongst different companies.

Norfolk faculties may be getting main renovations in a brand new proposal introduced by Alexander. The mayor proposed spending $700 million over the following 30 years to deal with capital enchancment wants at 25 of the town’s growing older faculty buildings. Replacing a number of the metropolis’s oldest faculties might value tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, in keeping with Pilot reporting.

Alexander stated the brand new plan wouldn’t improve metropolis taxes or charges and would partly depend on income from new tasks just like the Headwaters Resort & Casino.

“Where our children learn is critical to their success,” Alexander stated.

Trevor Metcalfe, 757-222-5345, trevor.metcalfe@pilotonline.com

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