Petersburg Police seeing uptick in calls for shots fired, but there is good news

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PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg police say they’ve seen an increase in the number of calls for shots fired this year, but more calls may not be bad thing.

So far this year, Petersburg Police have received just under 192 calls of people reporting shots fired, compared to 159 last year. That’s roughly a 21 percent increase.

“If there are shots fired, there could be several, could be 2, 3, 4 calls that are coming in for the same shots fired call,” Lt. Sheldon Wills with the Petersburg Police Department explained.

Wills says that means more citizens are reporting incidents to police.

“We are seeing more citizens get involved in different groups that are being organized in the city, and there are social media groups and people that are really concerned about their neighborhoods and concerned about the crime in their neighborhood, so of course we’re seeing a lot more people being involved and being engaged in the city,” Wills added.

Police credit the increase of involvement to an increase in neighborhood watch groups that connect neighbors with one another.

“My neighbor across the street, she’s at home by herself a lot, so we watch out for each other, so yeah it’s an excellent idea,” Petersburg resident Audrey Clark said.

Clark says she has experienced first-hand people up to no good at her house. She has heard gunshots nearby and just recently she caught someone trying to break into her home.

“It’s very scary,” she said.

Police are thankful for the help, but also want citizens to remember they respond to every call, but you may not even know it.

“They are not responding with lights and sirens, they will respond at a normal response,” Wills said.

Police say most shots fired calls turn out to be nothing. Officers do say in some calls, a white car was reported leaving the area. That’s the only information they have and are actively looking for additional details.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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