City Police Step Up Presence

By: Jummy Olabanji Email
By: Jummy Olabanji Email

May 21, 2007

What is local law enforcement doing as the rise in heat brings a rise in problems to the downtown area?

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo says that the good news is, incidents like the shooting on Friday night typically don't occur on the downtown mall in the summer time.

But with that said, the warmer weather does bring more bodies to this area, so the potential for violent acts to occur does exist.

When the temperature increases, so does the amount of law enforcement visible on the downtown mall.

“On any given weekend you could have as many as two bike officers and two or three additional foot officers in the area of the downtown mall,” said Longo.

He also says that even though the shooting on Water Street early Saturday morning wasn't fatal, it does raise concern.

"When something like this happens, it certainly gives me concern, when I have two teenage children that spend a lot of time down here," said Longo.

Even though the list of downtown violence this year has been relatively short, Longo says that's largely due to the extra work he and his staff have been providing to the area.

“In fact, on Friday night into early Saturday morning when this unfortunate incident occurred, it was the bike officer who worked the beat who actually heard what he believed to be gunshots and responded to the area before a call to service was even received,” said Longo.

He adds the violence like the shooting this weekend causes the police department to react in a way that will hopefully alleviate some of the concern of people who frequently visit the mall.

He also adds that the easiest thing for mall visitors to do is to keep in mind that the police are not far away. Any time there is a problem, you can pick up a phone and call.

Longo said, “We will work outside to make sure that people get safe to and from their vehicles and make sure order is maintained outside the premises.”

If you ever feel in danger while on the mall, police say to call the communications non emergency number at 434-977-9041.

Anyone with information on this weekend’s shooting is asked to call Crime- Stoppers at 434-977-4000.

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