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PETERSBURG, Va. -- Multiple Petersburg residents contacted CBS 6 Problem Solvers saying they are fearful after hearing more and more gunshots outside their homes recently.

Petersburg homeowner Doug Murtland said he hears gunshots at least once or twice a week. He said earlier this week, it was even worse.

"There were four gun shots, five gun shots in the Lee Park Area." He said.

Doug Murtland

Doug Murtland

For Susan Sundem, the frequent gunshots are unnerving.

"They sound close enough to where it kind of scares me a little bit," she added.

CBS 6 brought their concerns to the Petersburg Police Department, who admitted calls for shots fired are up in 2017.

Petersburg Police Sgt. Dustin Sloan said the city has logged "in excess of 190 calls for service" thus far this year. That’s not 190 separate incidents, only the amount of calls.

Investigators say multiple phone calls could be for the same event, while others turned out to be fireworks or construction.

petersburg-police-1

With that said, police say gunshot calls continue to increase in the city.

"It seems like it's been happening frequently," one resident said to a dispatcher.

Despite the increase in calls, Petersburg Police say too many residents are reporting the shots fired incidents on social media, instead of to the police department.

Police said residents shouldn't expect neighbors to make the call.

They are asking residents to call their non-emergency number if they hear gunshots, and even use 911 when necessary.

"If you actually see an offender fire a weapon or you suspect bodily injury has been done, obviously call 911,” said Sgt. Sloan.

Sgt. Sloan

Sgt. Sloan

In some cases police don’t find the suspect, but they do find valuable evidence.

"They've located in excess of 20 shell casings from the gunfire call for service," said Sgt. Sloan.

Sloan said another reason to call is to provide investigators as much information as possible. Even small details can help crack a case.

Petersburg Commonwealth's Attorney Cassandra Conover said if police do make an arrest for shooting a gun they will look to prosecute to the fullest extend of the law.

"You're facing anywhere from a Class 1 Misdemeanor which is up to 12 months in jail, to two to 10 years in prison just for discharging in a public place,” said Conover.

If you hear gunshots in Petersburg you are asked to call Petersburg non-emergency number at 804-863-2703, or contact 911.

CBS 6 News is working for you. Click here to email a tip to the CBS 6 Problem Solvers. Be sure to leave us your name, phone number and detailed description of the problem. You can also leave a message by calling 804-254-3672.

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