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Hampton Police hold community meetings to discuss combatting violent crime

HAMPTON, Va. - The Hampton Police Department held the last of three community meetings tonight to discuss their Community Response Team and how violent crime is impacting the city.

The meeting was held at Merrimac Elementary School at 7 p.m.

The CRT Unit will be taking a professionally aggressive stance to combat crime and specifically target crimes involving guns, gangs and drugs.

Tonight, police specifically focused on gun violence.

"My biggest fear at night is that one of these stray bullets may hit someone innocent," says Major Gallop.

The department says they are going to conduct more traffic stops and when warranted, push for full prosecution.

"We're arresting the same people over and over again."

One of their biggest messages at the meeting was to push for the community to take action. Police emphasized neighborhood watch groups, and overall, just being better neighbors.

"If you don't know your neighbors, how do you know if it's a stranger coming or going from their house," says Sergeant Matt Bond.

Sergeant Bond tells News 3 that the department came up with the idea about a week ago.

It was also last week that a 20-year-old man, Travuan Rouser, was shot to death on Ethel Drive.

His cousin tells News 3 that he was hit with only one bullet.

"I'm just tired of saying 'Rest in peace' to somebody everyday," says Jevon Huffman. "When it hits home, it hits a family member, it really hurts."

The violence on Ethel Drive is what sparked neighbor Velva Goodman to attend two of the community meetings this week.

She says she is now going to be the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator for her community.

" When it hits this close to home, you pay attention, or you let it happen, and we're not going to let it continue, we can't."

According to News 3 records, there have been 19 homicides so far this year, the second highest number in Hampton Roads next to Norfolk.

Sergeant Bond says the unit will not be out patrolling until Saturday, when the initiative officially kicks off.