Thursday forum to focus on tackling violent crime

Published 5:50 pm Friday, February 17, 2023

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Local residents are encouraged to participate in an upcoming forum that local law enforcement officials hope will spotlight issues with violent crime in the city.

Set for 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 at St. Paul Rzua Church, 619 Spruce Street, the event features Suffolk Commonwealth Attorney Narendra R. Pleas, Sheriff E.C. Harris and Suffolk Chief of Police Alfred Chandler.

“Everyone’s seen our local news as well as national news and what we’re seeing across the country and across our city is an increase in violent crime,” said Pleas said in a recent interview. “Something that we think can be tackled is information: trying to let people know what’s going on, how perhaps they can assist and answer questions: some people don’t know what it is that they could be doing and it could be something very small.”

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Chandler hopes citizens who attend do so with an open mind, bring ideas and a willingness to share their feelings.

“I believe this forum is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with the public on some of the challenges we face in our community from a safety perspective,” he said.

Chief Deputy Maj. David Miles said he believes the event is important to allow people to have their voices heard.

Pleas agreed that it’s important to have the community’s feedback as they continue their fight against crime.

“We want people, especially in the communities that have been largely affected to know that we do care and that we want their voices heard, to let them know where we are with the work that we’re doing and to take suggestions or comments,” Pleas said. “Whatever feedback we can get that can help us do our jobs better. There’s always room for improvement.