ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Hunt Avenue NW saw two of seven shootings reported by WFXR in January, both in the same week. There was another in December and several over the course of 2022.

WFXR News sat down with Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman to hear his response to violence in that area, and to the mothers who previously told us they were afraid of the constant shootings.

“Covert surveillance, increased presence and patrol in the area,” are some of the short-term solutions Roanoke Police Department is applying on Hunt Avenue, according to Chief Roman. “I think another thing on a short-term basis that can be done is, again, as a community member what is being done, how are you impacting the life of the young kid next door?”

He says some cases can take two to three years before an arrest is made, leaving violent criminals on the loose. The cases that are solved quickly involve witnesses and victims who are willing to come forward says the Chief.

“No police department can be successful in combatting crime unless we have a willing community to partner with us, to ensure that we’re getting the information we need, and witnesses are coming to court to testify to things that they’ve seen,” he said.

Chief Roman knows residents are scared, but he says focusing on successes in the neighborhood may actually be part of the solution. WFXR asked the Chief how residents in that area can focus on success when one woman we spoke with has a bullet hole in her door.

“Let me be clear, I’m not saying that we exclusively focus on success, exclusively focus on the success stories, I am just saying that a part of mitigating the violence is recognizing the success so you can see what you can build on to work toward a greater success,” he explained.

Those successes he says include every visit from their RESET team, and every child who gets matched with a mentor, but it also includes January’s arrest record. Roanoke saw four homicides in the month of January, one of which took place on Hunt Avenue, and Chief Roman says all of them resulted in arrests and indictments.