HAMPTON — While the city police are working hard to combat violence in the community, there are groups in the city working just as hard to attack the problems that cause violence.
The Office of Youth and Young Adult Opportunities has been working diligently to create proactive measures in the city that help stop violence before it actually happens.
Synethia White, program manager of the office, said she likes living in Hampton. Her kids go to good schools here and there are a lot of positives in the city to look for.
She wishes that there was more emphasis put on the positive projects and initiatives that happen in the city.
Other than relationship building with the police department, the Office of Youth and Young Adult Opportunities is starting community conversations to learn what people are concerned about.
Darius Swift, program coordinator, said he views the things his office does as proactive. They look for what’s causing the problems in the community and try to combat them through programs.
The only problem they are facing is a general lack of drive to work together as one city, he said.
They can have all the programs and initiatives they want but if no one participates then they are for nothing, Swift said.
Corey Palmer, another program coordinator, said the main reason for crime in the area: A lack of industry.
He said being poor can make people do all sorts of things to survive and if the community doesn’t work together to solve issues like that, crime is never going to go away.
Hampton Police’s mission
Lt. Jason Price, a commander from the police department’s community engagement unit, said Hampton Police not only focus their efforts on preventing crime, but also on combating guns, gangs and drugs.
He said their mission statement is to Prevent Crime and Enforce Law through Problem Solving Partnerships.
Over the last year, Hampton Police implemented a Gun Crimes Task Force and Violent Crimes Task Force, Price said.
By having those two task forces police plan on focusing on targeted street interdiction and investigation of known violent offenders.
He said the community policing effort is a requirement for keeping the community safe.
Police officers are committed to trust through transparency because they believe they cannot have a relationship with a community that doesn’t trust them.
All in all the members of the community want to see more proactive attempts to stop crime.
White said police are transparent in the community but Palmer wishes that they would do more when it came to building those relationships with the community.
Palmer said police could really make an impact on community members if they tried to work on what was causing the problems.
Swift and Palmer also believe that if the community were to work together from the top down, they could get so much more accomplished than if they were to keep working separately.
To learn about the programs and initiatives that the Office of Youth and Young Adult Opportunities has to offer click here.