Violent crime on the rise in Roanoke City

ROANOKE CITY (WSLS 10) - The number of homicides in Roanoke City is on the rise, as is the number of reported gunshot wounds.

The number of victims this year, compared to previous years, is growing.

The shooting at Monsters Bar and Grill killed one person and injured 10 other victims.

A case of workplace violence,  the shooting at FreightCar America, claimed the life of one person and injured two others.

Those are just two examples of senseless violence.

Shawn Hunter, the supreme captain of the 100 Fearless, said violence in the Star City has a correlation to impoverished areas and people.

"Why I believe we have this violence? It's a social issue," Hunter said. Not only does his group work to prevent crime, they work to help individuals obtain jobs and better their lives.

In 2015, there were 11 homicides. So far in 2016, there have been 10 homicides, according to data from the Roanoke City Police Department.

Both those numbers are above the city's average of nine homicides per year since 2010.

"We are tired of the talk, we need to get out and do some action," Hunter said.

Hunter is working with police to decrease those numbers. He and his community group station themselves in areas police have identified as having a high crime rate. They work to de-escalate any situation that may lead to violence.

"The majority of the crime you see comes from the poorer neighborhoods. So that's a direct reflection of what's going on and what permeates violence," Hunter said.

He said statistically, the majority of crimes happen at night and are related to Roanoke City nightclubs.

"When someone gets intoxicated and someone may illegally have a weapon on them, that could escalate into something that ends up in somebody getting killed and that's what we try to prevent," continued Hunter.

According to Roanoke City Police Department, the number of reported gunshot wounds have going up.

In 2015, 29 gunshot wounds were reported, eight ended as homicides. That's a total of 37.

This year, we're already past that. 35 gunshot wounds have been reported and seven have died because of them, adding up to 42.

Statistics provided by the Roanoke City Police Department:


 Gun Shot Wound    Homicide    Total


2010:         28                        5             33

2011:         30                        5             35

2012:         37                        4             41

2013:         29                        7             36

2014:         34                        1             35

2015:         29                        8             37

2016:*        35                        7             42

Hunter is stationing members of the 100 fearless at nightclubs. He says it's working.

"We've actually already done some de-escalations in downtown Roanoke," Hunter said.

He says one life saved is worth it.

* Year is not yet complete

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