City leaders address violence, crime in Portsmouth

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Portsmouth, Va. - Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright, along with several other Portsmouth leaders, held a press conference Thursday morning to address the continuing issues of violence and crime in the City of Portsmouth and nationwide.

"We are here to say enough is enough," Wright said.

During his speech, the mayor urged everyone to work together to make a U-turn on violence in the community. He also introduced a campaign to reduce crime and violence through community engagement. However, Wright did not give many details on the campaign during the press conference.

Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright

Portsmouth Mayor Kenny Wright

Interim Police Chief Dennis Mook also spoke at the press conference, saying he is disgusted by the violence in the city.

"The last six months have proven to be a very violent period for us," he said.

Mook says the overall crime in Portsmouth has declined 28.5 percent since 2008. However, Portsmouth Police confirmed Wednesday that they are investigating the 27th homicide of the year - a big jump from the 11 that they investigated in 2014.

Mook says he does not think that the budget cuts that went into effect in July affected the higher murder rate. But he did say he believes the overall culture of the violence and silence needs to change.

"If you see something, say something. If you know something, tell someone," he says.

Interim Police Chief Dennis Mook

Interim Police Chief Dennis Mook

The meeting comes just hours after a protest was held in the City of Portsmouth against Mayor Wright. Citizens upset with Wright's leadership gathered outside of Portsmouth City Hall to demand change.