Petersburg Police Chief works to address uptick in violent crimes

New Petersburg chief gets tough on crime

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In Petersburg, there’s a new police chief in town, and he is making it his mission to get tough on crime.

At least two nights this week, officers saturated the streets going after criminals. That led to both high-speed pursuits and arrests.

“It’s been a busy time for us,” Chief Travis Christian said. “If you’ve noticed one too many shootings in Petersburg lately, police have to. We’re focused right now on what we’re seeing, the uptick in some of our gun violence and gunplay that’s occurring in our city.”

Christian stepped up to the plate after previous Chief Ken Miller retired. He hasn’t been in the role for two months but he’s getting to work, especially in criminal hot spots.

“What we’re doing is we’re saturating those particular areas, areas that we’ve had issues in and we’re making our presence known,” Christian added.

It resulted in 9 arrests Tuesday night for drugs and gun violations. Some of these cases led to chases when the suspects didn’t want to surrender so easily. Thursday night, officers went back to the streets aggressively targeting others looking to break the law in Petersburg.

“These are different times. Those days are done. We will not stop, we won’t tolerate it and we will disband the criminal element here in our city,” the chief said.

His officers are doing this despite a problem agencies are facing nationwide, more police leaving the profession.

“There’s not a lot of folks knocking on the doors to come into law enforcement these days,” the chief admitted.

But the work must go on, especially when a city is seeing an uptick in violent crime. “People want to be safe and we’re charged with that mission to try to keep our city safe,” Christian continued.

Petersburg is working with state and federal law enforcement agencies on these random criminal operations. The chief says to expect more in the future.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.