East End (Newport News, Virginia)
Located in the older portion of the port city near the harbor of Hampton Roads, the East End is characterized by coal storage and shipping facilities, dock areas for small fishing and sightseeing ships and tugboats, and low income housing. The residential portion includes public housing projects and it is considered an impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhood. Large numbers of homeless people are present in the East End.
These statistics are derived from the 2010 United States Census, defining the "East End" as census tracts 301, 303, 304, 305, 306, and 308 in Newport News, Virginia. Please note that there is no exact definition of the boundaries of the "East End" and therefore, the following statistics should be considered approximate.
|Ethnicity Claimed||East End||The rest of Newport News|
|Age Distribution||East End||The rest of Newport News|
|Percent of population over 18||63.0%||77.4%|
|Percent of population over 65||10.4%||10.7%|
|Household Type||East End||The rest of Newport News|
|Married Couples with Children||6.5%||17.7%|
|Single Parents with Children||24.6%||12.6%|
|Poverty Level||East End||The rest of Newport News|
|Percent of population living in poverty||40.1%||14.9%|
Gangs have a strong presence in the area. Gang members have been known to gun down teenagers outside schools during drive by shootings. One victim of gang violence was only 13 years old when they were shot and killed. As of September, 2015, one 17 year old gang member has been indicted in the brutal stabbing murder of his own 41-year-old mother, allegedly for $850 worth of rent money.
In 2014, the number of homicides in the area almost doubled compared to the previous year, 2013. A local resident stated that it seemed like every time they "picked up a newspaper or turned on the TV" someone had been shot and killed. Another resident stated that the violence was "getting worse". Police stated that they would try to create better community relations to reduce the violence. One woman was killed by a stray bullet while sleeping in her own home.
In spring of 2015, over a 30 days period, just one street experienced four shootings and eight casualties. The Newport News Police Department responded by increasing patrols in the area, describing the area's violence as "spiraling out of control".
Several public housing projects in the area are in a state of poor repair. In 2014, "HUD inspectors found insect or roach infestations; missing, damaged or inoperable refrigerators; missing or damaged sinks and tubs; inoperable or not lockable windows; and damaged, clogged or missing toilets" at several public housing projects in the East End. During August 2014, a dozen dumpster fires were set at Public Housing Projects across the East End. The fires may have been a criminal disposing of evidence, or may have been set by a pyromaniac.
The area is notable for being the childhood home of brothers Michael Vick and Marcus Vick, who initially gained fame with their talents and success in high school football at Newport News Public Schools under Coach Tommy Reamon. Although each won scholarships to play football at Virginia Tech, neither completed their educations there.
Both Vick brothers played professionally for the NFL for a time, where Michael achieved great success and gained considerable wealth while playing for the Atlanta Falcons. Marcus was never selected in the NFL drafts, and ended up as a free agent. Despite their achievements, the brothers each became involved with traffic and criminal problems, notably the Bad News Kennels Dog Fighting incident. The latter resulted in a highly publicized "fall from grace" for Michael Vick, who was convicted of a federal felony charge in 2007 and was in federal prison and awaiting trial on several state felony charges as of June 2008. Marcus Vick has also had continuing traffic and criminal problems since leaving Virginia Tech in early 2006 after he was dismissed from the Virginia Tech football program by University President Charles Steger following the 2005 season "due to a cumulative effect of legal infractions and unsportsmanlike play". After leaving Virginia Tech, Vick declared himself eligible for the NFL spring draft in 2006, but was not selected.
A 2007 newspaper article published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted "not much changed" by observations of local people almost ten years after Michael Vick left. One resident said that there is drug dealing, drive-by shootings and other killing in the neighborhood, and suggested that sports was a way out and a dream for many. In a 2001 interview, Vick told the Newport News Daily Press that when he was 10 or 11 "I would go fishing even if the fish weren't biting, just to get out of there" and away from the violence and stress of daily life in the projects. Even though the area is, by all accounts, troubled, several people interviewed were disbelieving that dog fighting was a local activity there.
In 2008, Newport News native Aaron Brooks, an older cousin of the Vick brothers who graduated from Homer L. Ferguson High School, attended the University of Virginia on a football scholarship, and has been an NFL player, announced plans to invest in a redevelopment project in his hometown.
In a story published in the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper in July 2008, Aaron Brooks announced there are plans in store for him and some partners to redevelop part of downtown Newport News, a city that shares many of the same social problems that plague New Orleans. As of 2008, the investment will be a mixed-use development between Jefferson and Terminal avenues and 33rd and 29th streets in the economically depressed East End area.
A East End store
Garbage lines many of the streets in the East End
Most establishments in the East End have bars on their windows to deter Burglary
A Pawn Shop in the East End
- "University President Charles Steger Statement on Marcus Vick". hokiesports.com. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- "Girl suing Dolphins rookie Marcus Vick for $6.3 million". USA Today. 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- David Ress (2007-07-25). "Vick case puzzling". inRich.com. Retrieved 2007-07-31.[dead link]