ROANOKE, Va. – While most of 2020 has been spent under some form of stay at home order in Virginia, gun violence is on the rise in Roanoke.
Eleven more people have been injured from gunfire so far this year compared to this same time in 2019, according to data from the Roanoke Police Department.
Gun violence has become too common in the Star City within the last few weeks, city officials say.
“The increase of incidents as of late, I think, are so dramatic, in part, because there have been so many consecutively, but also because for a long period of time there was no activity,” said Roanoke City Councilman Joe Cobb.
While the number of those killed by gunfire to date is comparable with 2019, the number of people hurt by gunfire has nearly doubled.
|Incidents where victim was hit by gunfire||January 1 to July 28, 2019||January 1 to July 28, 2020|
|Domestic aggravated assaults||1||0|
|January 1 to July 28, 2019||January 1 to July 28, 2020|
|Number of homicides||8||7|
“There are not a lot of activities here in Roanoke, especially with COVID-19 having everything locked down. They’re just restless,” said Kevin Hall. He lives off Gandy Road where two people were shot last week.
“I feel like they could open up more recreational spaces like playgrounds, basketball courts just to get people to go out more and be distracted on other things,” said Braulio Isidro. He lives off Daleville Street where a teen was shot following a fight.
Steps have been taken to curb the violence in Downtown Roanoke.
Councilman Cobb is part of a study committee to reduce gun violence. He says they have taken steps to hire a full-time liaison to focus on these issues.
“We received a grant through the Burns Justice Foundation to a Reset Coordinator. Once that person is hired, they will work a team of volunteers who will be trained --community volunteers – to be able to go in and reach out to family, neighbors who have been impacted and offer some supportive services to them immediately,” explained Cobb.
Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea is also part of this committee. He says they are also considering rewards for those with information on these crimes.
WSLS 10 News also reached out to Roanoke County Police for similar data. Check back for updates.