Suffolk needs a turnaround

Published 5:19 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

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To the editor:

Bang! Bang! Those are the gunshots I hear constantly since returning home to Suffolk. The shots are more frequent now and can be heard echoing behind the fences of my mother’s cul de sac, in what used to be a quiet part of town. Trying to sleep but awakened by sirens from Suffolk Police and other first responders, wondering if it’ll make the news and leave another bloody stain on the city, as another family mourns the loss of a loved one that could’ve been avoided.

The city of Suffolk has chosen to move into the darkness, with crimes alarmingly high for a city like ours. Just on a recent weekend, a man was seriously injured after being stabbed, and another young man severely suffered after being shot, later passing away. Sadly, this is becoming the norm in our city, with the suspect of the fatal killing being connected to two other shootings on the exact same street and being wanted. Talk about hiding in plain sight … the violence must end!

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There needs to be accountability. Where is the leadership in Suffolk? Just like on a national level, in times of disaster and turmoil we turn to our president to be the example, on a local level we expect the same from our mayor. Leaders show great strength with a resounding voice, encourage and disavow hatred and violent acts, but as the shootings and violent crimes continue in our city there’s much silence coming from City Hall. Maybe the Du-Man missed the signal in the sky, or perhaps is simply unaware of the violence that’s plaguing certain parts of our city.

The Suffolk Health Department is closed in the middle of a pandemic of all times. The health department that is in the most populous city of Western Tidewater closed … have our leaders tried talking to VDH to change this or just going with the motions? There’s no reason a city our size should have to go to neighboring communities to access services, especially when the departments for the rest of the major Hampton Roads cities are open.

The dysfunction continues with the Suffolk School Board that chooses to air their dirty laundry for all of Hampton Roads to see, making a mockery of themselves. Unwarranted lawsuits are not only wasting taxpayer money but taking away from funds that could have gone toward our children’s education.

Lastly, promises were made when Suffolk and Nansemond County merged into present-day Suffolk in the ’70s — promises that still haven’t been fulfilled nearly 47 years later. Instead of long range planning for better grid connectivity throughout the city and road improvements and expansions, Suffolk is working backwards with overdevelopment on poor infrastructure that has caused issues such as the 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage that poured into the Nansemond River. No need to worry though, we still get to pay the most expensive water bills in all of Hampton Roads!

Wake up Suffolk, we need a major turnaround!


Tray Burch