ROANOKE, Va. – 21 homicides have happened in Roanoke already this year, and an uptick in crime has police searching for solutions. They’re holding a series of community forums beginning next week.
Police said they want to listen to the community, as well as share their side.
Roanoke City Lieutenant Susanna Camp said she’s been working with the police department for twenty years, and it’s clear she loves the work she does. She works with victims when she responds to crime in the Star City.
“To be able to come in and kind of explain things, talk to them, work them through it, and leaving knowing I made a difference, I might not have fixed the problem necessarily, but I made a difference to them and I made them feel seen and heard,” Camp said. “That’s important to victims.”
Making others feel seen and heard is the goal of the upcoming community forums.
“We’ve focused all of our efforts our assets towards the violent crime because there’s such an uptick,” Camp said. “So we’re really trying to partner with the community to get their help.”
She said all of this started after a Downtown Roanoke Inc. anonymous survey brought to light citizens’ concerns.
“The length of time it took for police to respond with our staffing issues, we were having to answer some calls by phone, and they weren’t feeling like they were getting great service a lot of times the officers were so busy and moving call to call they didn’t have a whole lot of time to talk to victims and explain the process and that left for some confusion,” Camp said. “So, hopefully we’ll be able to address some of that.”
Camp said next week’s session is aimed at the downtown area but in the coming weeks they’ll be holding forums in each section of the Star City.
The first is set for Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Straight Street on Luck Avenue.