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'Time for us to change the narrative' | Charlotte leaders work to curb youth gun violence

So far this year in Charlotte, there have been 94 homicides, and violent crimes are up 11%.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As Charlotte’s homicide rate is at its highest in 10 years, there is a major effort to stop gun violence in the city.

So far this year, there have been 94 homicides in Charlotte and violent crimes are up 11%. Atrium Health said they’ve seen an estimated 500 to 600 gunshot wound victims. 

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department said many of the shootings involve young people using guns to settle simple arguments.

NBC Charlotte also spoke to Dr. David Jacobs, medical director for Atrium Health’s trauma services, about the city’s gun violence.  

“We’re seeing increased numbers of gunshot wounds,” Dr. Jacobs said. “We see more at night, we see more on the weekends.”

He said the cases involving young victims impact him the most.

“We see a lot of patients who are victims of what we call ‘non-accidental trauma’, those are the ones that sort of tug at my heartstrings,” Dr. Jacobs said.

On Wednesday, there was a special town hall meeting organized by NC Child and the Children’s Alliance of Mecklenburg County at the Children and Family Services Center in uptown Charlotte. 

The meeting was meant to find solutions for youth gun violence and included police, school officials, child safety advocates, and others. One goal of the event was to look at possible improvements to public policy.

“It’s time for us to change the narrative, it's time for us to start seeing some better outcomes with our young people,” said Will Hawkins, who works for the youthful offender programs in Mecklenburg County.

Dr. Jacobs says preventing the violence takes a comprehensive effort, not only involving police, but also faith organizations, schools, and hospitals.


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