ROANOKE, Va. – Tuesday night, Roanoke’s latest gun violence prevention group met for the first time. The news Gun Violence Prevention Commission is the third iteration of the Task Force to Reduce Gun Violence. According to city leaders, the Commission’s goal is to implement many of the ideas the task force innitialy brought to the city.
The commission will focus on stopping gun violence before it starts, its long term goal to provide resources, connections and opportunities in long-neglected parts of the start city
“A lot of times a very simple question is, why does a man do what he does? Because he doesn’t have other options available,” said Commission member Elliott Major.
Commission members, including newly named chair Joe Cobb, also touted successes up to this point, including a new $25,000 grant the city secured from the general assembly
“It’s going to help us better understand why youth and young adults turn to violence,” said Cobb.
New ideas to be implemented include a new gang violence reduction coordinator
“A lot of other municipalities throughout the state have found this very helpful,” said Cobb.
But while the tone was hopeful Tuesday evening, commission members acknowledge that quick fixes remain off the table.
“I believe that 8-10 years, even though that seems a long way off, we’ll be able to look back and see that the work we’re doing new is making a significant difference and we’ll be able to measure that,” said Cobb.
Commission members also stressed that making change, reducing gun violence in the city, in both the short and long term, requires a buy in from people who actually live in these neighborhoods in Roanoke. To that end, they’re encouraging people to reach out, particularly via email, to say what’s needed and where resources have fallen short.