ROANOKE Va. – Roanoke leaders gathered Tuesday evening to announce new measures the city is taking to curb its gun violence problem.
Of the 40 incidents in 2021 where a person was hit by gunfire within city limits, only nine of those cases are closed.
City leaders said they are focused on stopping gun violence among the city’s children.
Six of the 16 people police believe are shooters, nearly 40%, are under the age of 18.
When looking at the city’s gun violence victims, 14 of the 45 people, more than 30%, are under the age of 18.
During Tuesday’s news conference, Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea announced that Roanoke will now start offering rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for gun violence in the Star City.
Lea said that the rewards will be paid out using a newly established $50,000 fund.
Watch the full news conference below:
The city also reiterated the fact that it’s receiving $525,000 in grants to address the problem of gun violence.
Roanoke received a $500,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Corrections and Justice Services to establish a gun violence intervention program and hire a youth and gang violence prevention coordinator, as well as two outreach workers who will be responsible for reaching out to high-risk youth and young adults.
The city also received a $25,000 grant to complete a youth and gang violence commuity assessment for the identification, prevention and intervention of youth and gang violence.
In addition to those grants, the city’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission approved a $65,000 in mini-grants to 17 community organizations for intervention and prevention programs.
Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman also spoke on Tuesday and talked about how his department is using offender-based strategies to stop gun violence.
This means that police are working to identify the most violent offenders and have them arrested and convicted.