Portsmouth Police explain why they think major crimes are down from 2017-2018

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Portsmouth Police Department released new crime statistics for the city Wednesday night.

They said there has been an 8 percent decrease in major crimes from 2017 to 2018.

News 3 interviewed Lt. Bryant Hall, who said there has been a culture change within the department.

He said R.E.S.E.T. walks and more engagement with the citizens has helped reduce crime in the city.

The Portsmouth Police Department holds a forum to discuss the overall reduction in major crimes from 2017-2018

Hall said they’re getting more help solving crimes.

“We’ve actually seen an increase in our solvability rates in our homicides based on the cooperation we're getting from our citizens," said Hall.

However, police also reported a 6 percent increase in violent crime. They said aggravated assaults contributed to many of those numbers.

Police said people breaking into unlocked cars continues to be a big problem throughout the entire city.

“A lot of times, it’s a crime of opportunity,” said Hall. “Lock your doors and move your valuables.”

He said police, city council and the city manager are working together.

“Based on the cooperation, we’ve been able to start a Violent Crimes Initiative and if we see an uptick in crime, we will deploy the appropriate resources and stomp on that crime,” said Hall.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Psimas said she is happy about the latest numbers.

“Those on city council are very public safety-conscious. About a year ago we had an officer that was shot and almost died, so it hit real close to home,” said Psimas. “[Portsmouth Police] Chief [Tonya] Chapman’s community policing efforts must be paying off.”

They say now the effort is to continue the momentum in hopes of getting the crime numbers even lower.

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