Roanoke leaders look to new initiatives to help curb gun violence

One new initiative, ‘Operation Pinpoint’ looks to focus on areas most impacted by gun violence

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission is focusing its efforts on the city’s most impacted communities.

To help, Roanoke City leaders are adopting an approach used in Chicago. Commission Chairman Joe Cobb said it’s called “Operation Pinpoint.”

According to the latest data from Roanoke Police, half of the city’s shootings this year happened in Northwest Roanoke, and Cobb said the efforts will be focused on those areas most impacted by gun violence.

“This is a grassroots program that engages neighbors through door-to-door engagement, through meetings,” Cobb said. “It engages business owners, faith leaders, anyone who lives and works in those neighborhoods we want to have input from to help us develop programs and strategies to help that neighborhood reclaim itself from gun violence.”

Another intervention effort will begin in August – a new program called “First Step.”

“First Step is a way to reduce community violence by learning how to resolve conflicts peacefully. To learn mediation skills, to learn de-escalation skills,” Cobb said.

There are more upcoming outreach events being held in the coming months, like the FEDUP Prayer Breakfast scheduled for Saturday and National Night Out, scheduled for next month.

“We plan to have members of our commission attend as many events as possible. Our Youth and Gang Violence Prevention team will also be sharing information about their work,” Cobb said.

There are also free classes available to learn the tools needed to identify, de-escalate, relate, and intervene in the earliest stages of a community conflict.

You can learn more about the classes and register for free here.

About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.