ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission wrapped up their first meeting of the new year Tuesday night.
They released a new statistics report noting 67 shootings last year, 16 of which were deadly. An increase from 2020′s 11 deadly shootings.
“It is unfortunately what we would have anticipated seeing and it is consistent with what communities around the country are seeing,” said commission member, Rev. Tim Harvey.
To stop that trend, the city has designated $2 million worth of American Rescue Plan funding to combat gun violence. The money will be split between programs created by the commission.
One plan is to offer a yearly youth and gang violence community assessment. The first of which was offered last year.
“It seems to me the community is concerned and aware that we do have an increasing problem with gun violence, and gang connections to that violence,” said Harvey. “So, we feel like we have a really good first grab of data with some positive ways on how to move forward.”
The youth and gang violence prevention unit led by Christopher Roberts is also receiving additional funding. Roberts was hired in September and is the first to hold the position- aiming to connect with the city’s youth.
“We also talk to them about the dangers and trying to prevent themselves in gangs or being gang-involved,” said Roberts.
Other plans include increasing the number of lights and cameras downtown.