Community, law enforcement leaders hold summit to address Tri-Cities’ violent crime challenges

The Tri-Cities

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Crime is a big concern in the Tri-Cities area. Law enforcement and community partners hosted an event Monday in Petersburg to address the issue.

The Tri-Cities Violent Crime Summit allowed officials and victims of crime in the community to discuss problems and solutions.

Federal, state and local law enforcement leaders spoke about being more collaborative to target violent offenders. They said working together will allow for more business opportunities and keep young people out of trouble by providing them with the resources they need to succeed.

“The City of Petersburg has had a lot of challenges and the excuse I always hear or often hear is poor people commit crime and that’s not true,” said Chief Kenneth Miller, of Petersburg Police. “People are hurting in our city.

“We need help, we need resources, we need funding.”

Community leaders were outspoken about needing more programs to turn young people away from violence. Chief Miller says the department is working to improve that.

“I already have a school resource supervisor working at the elementary schools which we never had before.”

Nauvata Evans’ son was a victim of crime and told 8News “these kids need to be redirected their minds into more positive things and instead of the negative things.”

Evan’s son, DeAndre Thomas, was killed in 2003 when he was 18-year-old. He was shot several times outside a vacant home on Liberty Street in Petersburg.

“I don’t want to see another parent go through what I’m going through,” Thomas said.

It’s why authorities are teaming up and combining resources to target violent offenders.

“We’re going to go out and communicate and be active and we’re gonna narrow down on those criminals that are committing crimes in our area and we’re here to get you,” said Chief Jeff Faries, of Colonial Heights Police.

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