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* Hampton City News

Posted on: February 10, 2023

Violent crimes were down in 2022, but 2023 starts with a spike

crimes graphic

Feb. 8, 2023 – Police Chief Mark Talbot gave an update to City Council about crime in 2022 that started with some good news.

Statistics show that murders were down 25% over 2021. Robberies decreased by 12%. Property crimes were up at total of 16%, but that representing a return to the level that existed before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am very proud of the way we ended 2022,” Talbot said. “I’m not saying we declared victory, but we are moving in the right direction.”

Then, 2023 started with a wave of violence. Ten people have been killed so far, said Talbot, in eight different cases. Ten others have been wounded in eight non-fatal incidences. 

“We believe that we will certainly turn this around,” Talbot told council. “We are redeploying some specialty units, partnering with city and state and our federal partners to bring more enforcement capacity to struggling areas of the city.”

The violence is isolated, not random. Nor is the risk.

Here is what the perpetrators and victims have in common, according to police statistics: An average age of about 26. Male. Most live in poor or marginalized areas. They almost always know each other.

“If women are killed, it is almost exclusively by someone who said they loved them at some point” or because they were next to a partner when he was shot, Talbot said.

Talbot also said there were “some instances of road rage,” which he suggested would be “a good lesson for everyone.” He said those incidents should remind people to have a little more patience and self-control at the wheel.

The pattern of violence is the same across the country, Talbot said: “There are no dangerous cities. There are no dangerous neighborhoods. There are dangerous blocks or parts of blocks. You can have one house making everyone else around it miserable.”

After an incident, police knock on doors. “We want to talk to people in a neighborhood, even if they didn’t see anything,” Talbot said. “We are all experts in our own neighborhoods. We know what cars are usually in the driveways. We know when the grandkids visit. We know who walks a dog and when.

“We want to understand the fiber of your neighborhood. Even if we are not asking the right questions, please help us to know your neighborhood,” he said. “Everybody is not at the same risk. There are folks that are really, really in jeopardy by virtue of their choices. We need to work closely with them, whether or not they want us to."

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