ROANOKE, Va. – 2020 was a more violent year than normal for Roanoke in terms of gun violence.
According to new statistics from the Roanoke Police Department, there were 11 people shot and killed in homicides in 2020, the same number as the year before. 71 people were injured in shooting crimes.
However, there were 103 aggravated assault incidents with firearms last year, which is a drastic jump from the 60 recorded in 2019.
The Roanoke Gun Violence Task Force analyzed the data during their monthly meeting Friday.
“All of the numbers we see here are connected to people,” said Roanoke city councilman Joe Cobb. “They’re connected to friends, to neighbors, to this community.”
The data also broke down the victims and assailants by age range. 35 of the 71 people injured by gunfire were between the ages of 18 and 29, and eleven of them were under the age of 18. Of the 41 assailants identified by police, 25 are between the ages of 18 and 29, and six are underage.
“There needs to be immediate intervention for the age group that is beyond 18,” said task force member Jim O’Hare.
Roanoke Police Department crime analyst Alisha Morrison told the task force many of the recorded victims and assailants in the 18 to 29 range are younger than 25.
“We had so many individuals that were 18 years old, 19 years old, or 20,” Morrison said.
The task force believes gang violence is responsible for a sizable portion of the crimes. They discussed the possibility of using ex-gang members to tell those in gang life how to escape their situation.
“If they had another path, 99% of them wouldn’t do what they have done,” said task force member Elliott Major.