ROANOKE, Va. – Gun violence in the Star City has doubled compared to this time last year.
Following a very public shooting last weekend, Roanoke Police are planning on stepping up their patrols as the city looks to take action.
“Aggravated assaults have doubled since last year, and homicides have more than tripled, unfortunately so telling statistics here,“ said Roanoke Police Department Crime Analyst Andrew Reece,
According to the Roanoke Police Department, there have been seven gun-related homicides since January 1 compared to two in 2020.
An even more troubling statistic, most of the 31 shootings this year involved someone under the age of 25.
“So you have eight between 16-18, one from 19-21, eight from 22-25 that’s 60% of our victims in this table, so 60% of our victims falling under that window in terms of age grouping so that’s something to keep in mind,” Reece said.
During Friday’s gun violence prevention commission meeting, city leaders described new plans to address the issue within the community.
Including creating programs within the city’s education system.
“We’re going to do is look at positive action we’re going to bring that into our programming, but we’re, what we’re going to do is adapt it, we want to adapt it to all the things that we collect is important, around prevention for gun violence,” Taisha Steele, a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Commission said.
The city has also been working closely with downtown business owners to discuss what can be done about safety.
“We want to talk to businesses throughout the community in terms of being partners with us in this,” City Councilor Joe Cobb said.
And as another weekend begins in the Star City, law enforcement wants to send a message to those who may be heading downtown.
“Please come out, have a good time we’ll be there to do what we can to make sure everybody is safe,” Roanoke Police Deputy Chief Chester Smith said
Roanoke Police say they will be patrolling downtown on busier nights and weekends.
The city’s set to hear whether it has received grants to hire outreach staff to directly address gun violence in the coming days.