Increase in shootings: Community leaders work to reduce gun violence

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RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — We have seen an increase in gun violence across the country since the pandemic.

Raleigh Police Department figures show a 34% increase in shootings this year compared to the same time last year.

According to RPD figures, there have been 70 shootings so far this year, compared to 52 in 2021 and 50 in 2020.

Gerald Givens Jr. is the president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP. The group received a $2 million grant to reduce gun violence, District C council member Corey Branch said that was included in the city’s new budget.

“We need to recognize that now is the time for us to look at community violence intervention programs that can reduce what is happening in our community,” Givens Jr. said.

He said the money will be used for behavior therapy for at-risk individuals, survivor support services, community beautification and violence intervention programs.

“They help broker ceasefires, you know how to change the vibe in the neighborhood, and also treat people who are going through trauma in the community,” Givens Jr said.

Fatal shootings are also on the rise, 16 this year compared to 11 last year and 10 this time in 2020, according to RPD figures.

Givens said the NAACP is now choosing organizations to partner with, the goal is to use the grant to reduce gun violence by 30% in the at-risk neighborhoods they will work with.

The DPR says it has seized 580 firearms this year and encourages community help by asking for tips, no matter how small.

“The Raleigh Police Department is committed to making our city the safest in the country,” an RPD spokesperson said in a statement. “Gun violence is part of a disturbing national trend that is leading to senseless loss of life. The city of Raleigh was no exception.

The spokesperson said the department implemented a gun violence reduction strategy in 2018 that uses intelligence-based policing to identify crime hotspots and offenders, high-speed patrols visibility in areas identified by crime patterns and partnership with the community to reduce gun violence.

“These pillars allow for a broader approach to addressing gun violence by focusing on innovative officer training, such as de-escalation; work with and support our justice system partners; facilitate community engagement and educational opportunities; and formulating private/public partnerships to reach more residents,” the spokesperson said.

At the county level, Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria said the county is in the early stages of creating a comprehensive gun violence reduction program. He said that would likely involve sharing information between municipalities and various law enforcement agencies.

He said the goal would be to address gun violence not only from a criminal justice perspective, but also from a social perspective.

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