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Despite task force results, Hopewell Police Chief says 'we're not complacent'

Posted at 5:16 PM, Feb 13, 2023

HOPEWELL, Va. -- It's been 21 days since Hopewell Police announced the formation of a Violent Crime Task Force after an outbreak of violence in early January.

"We do not want our community to live in fear. We do not want our residents to feel like their kids can't go outside to play," Hopewell Police Chief A.J. Starke said.

Driving through the city, Starke said he understands why Hopewell residents were in fear.

"No one, and I mean no one, could have imagined that we would have had the type of January 2023 that we had for the first 23 days," Starke said.

Those first 23 days of the year included four murders, including an eight-year-old girl, and dozens of shots-fired calls. Starke said in the 23 days since the task force was started, 12 arrests have been made on 20 felony charges.

"We are getting results but we're not complacent," Starke said.

Drugs that have been confiscated include cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, MDMA pills and oxycodone pills. The task force has also seized nearly $2,800 in cash.

"We've taken more than two dozen guns off the streets since we've initiated the Violent Crime Task Force," Starke said.

One Hopewell resident said that while she used to hear gunshots almost every day, nowadays, she's hearing a difference.

"I feel safer because I feel like there's less signs that I'm hearing, I'm not hearing the shootings," the resident said.

"We want to get the guns off the street because we know the guns we seize can no longer be used to commit a crime. The police officers are working really hard. I can't say enough about the work that's being done," Starke said.

Starke added that the police department has also begun to receive tips from residents.

Hopewell Police are asking anyone with information about any crime in the city to call Crime Solvers at (804) 541-2202.

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