ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — After three people ended up in the hospital with gunshot wounds early Sunday morning, the Roanoke City Council is working to take action against rising crime and gun violence.
On Monday, May 2, the council members discussed fears of an even larger uptick in violence as school lets out.
The owner of downtown business Bayou Snowballs, Crystal Holton, spoke during the public comment period, voicing her concern about constantly seeing altercations in the city that lead to teenagers and young adults getting seriously injured.
“It’s not really the homeless people, it’s the people who don’t have anything else to do, ” said Holton.
Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea says offering more job opportunities and activities for younger citizens could help, but he fears it won’t have a strong enough interest.
“If this continues to move among young people, I’m not beyond just looking at possible curfews,” said Lea.
Another concern he addressed was the ease of access to firearms.
“Over the past month, our officers out in the streets have seized 30 firearms, illegally possessed firearms,” explained Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman.
“Over the past weekend we have answered 645 calls for service,” Roman added.
According to Lea, not only are firearms too accessible, but there are too many citizens who don’t fear the consequences of pulling the trigger.
“Something is not penetrating the minds of these young people, they’re shooting each other, they’re trying to kill each other with guns, think about that,” the Roanoke mayor said.
Lea adds that when it comes to figuring out a way to curb violence, there are plenty of considerations on the table, including longer sentences for perpetrators.