(WFXR) — City and town leaders across southwest and central Virginia are working on ways to tackle violent crime in their communities.
City officials and local organizations in Lynchburg are standing up to gun violence this summer with their ongoing ‘ENOUGH’ Rally, which includes a series of pop-up rallies in different neighborhoods. The goal is to offer resources like jobs and mental health services directly to the people who might need them.
The organizer of Lynchburg’s ‘ENOUGH’ Rally and the executive director of One Community, One Voice, James Camm, has been advocating for positive change in the Hill City for about five years, but says it’s needed now more than ever.
“It is important that people realize that in their neighborhoods, they have the power to take it back, to stop all the negative influences,” Camm said.
Rallies being held in Lynchburg throughout the summer bring law enforcement, job opportunities, health care professionals, and prayers to area neighborhoods.
“We try to build around a coalition of partners that can give people information to improve their lifestyles and their lives,” Camm told WFXR News.
Two more rallies are planned for this summer, including one on July 12 at Rivermont Avenue and one on July 26 at Dearington. They both begin at 6 p.m.
Leaders in surrounding areas say they’re doing their part too.
Roanoke City Councilman Joe Cobb — who also serves as the chair of the city’s Gun Violence Prevention Commission, says officials expect gun buy-back programs, partnerships with organizations, and grants will help in the long term, but need the community to speak up to help address issues happening now.
Councilman Cobb said, “We know that people in the community may have information about either knowing that they’re going to happen or knowing that something is happening, and it’s really important that they communicate with the police,” Cobb said.
He says right now it’s up to both Star City leaders and residents to address violent crimes, adding that Roanoke won’t see significant changes until the way we relate to each other as human beings changes.
Blacksburg Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith sent a statement to WFXR News, saying, “We maintain a healthy dialogue with neighboring localities to monitor and reduce violent behaviors of all kinds.”