ROANOKE, Va. – Gun violence is often the symptom of a much larger problem, including in Roanoke. First Assistant United States Attorney Dan Burbar believes the Star City’s root cause could be gangs.
“We have certainly seen an increase in violent crime and gang-initiated violent crime, and it’s something we’re very serious about,” said Bubar, whose federal jurisdiction includes Roanoke. “We have to identify it, target it and work on effective prosecution.”
Bubar explained his point of view to Roanoke’s Gun Violence Task Force on Friday. He said his office has investigated gang activity among all ages of Roanokers.
“Gang recruitment is happening, and it’s happening even with school-age children,” Bubar said. “Those individuals who have a criminal history and want to shoot each other with guns...how can we, with prosecution, remove them from our society?”
Roanoke police revealed the city’s latest gun violence numbers during the task force meeting. According to police, 30 people have been shot during a violent crime in Roanoke, twice as many people than at this point last year.
19 of the 30 victims were shot in northwest Roanoke, far outpacing the city’s other quadrants. Six were shot in northeast Roanoke, five in southeast Roanoke, and three in southwest Roanoke.
Bubar said he hopes to implement an anti-gang education model in Roanoke, similar to what his office has established in Danville.
“We have seen a great decrease of gang-initiated crime in the city of Danville, and it’s something we’ve worked on for a number of years,” Bubar said.