NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — As a part of a community-wide safety initiative, the City of Newport News is looking for solutions from the community to address gun violence.
Earlier this month, the city launched a survey for residents to answer questions about safety and crime in their own neighborhoods.
That’s part one of their plan for the Community Safety Initiative. Mayor McKinley Price says part two involves the community providing solutions they believe would work.
“It’s important for everyone to work together because it’s everyone’s problem,” he said about gun violence. “It’s not a police problem. It’s not a City Council problem. It’s a community problem. The best way for the community to solve this problem is to work together. We’re trying to target resources that are actively trying to help us.”
Price has been mayor of his hometown for 12 years and says gun violence has always been an issue, but shootings in more public locations have drawn more awareness to the issue.
“I don’t think it’s gotten worse. I think it’s always been there. I think it’s more in the headlines now. I just saw in Brooklyn, where my son lives and it scared me, a guy at the subway station randomly shot five people. It’s everywhere. It’s not just in Newport News. It’s not just in our region. It’s a national problem. It’s going to take our country and politicians to do the right thing to stop gun violence,” he said.
And that’s where their grant application program comes in.
Price says organizations often come to City Council and request funds. This program will allow them to vet organizations and people who have great solutions.
“Newport News is rare in the way we’re open to new and any ideas that will help. If you have an open system and creative ideas, we’ll say let’s try it. We were the first city in the state to try shot spotter. It’s technology that helps with gun violence. It targets areas where shots came from. We’re open to any and everything in their neighborhoods that will solve this problem,” he said.
The answers taken from the community survey will help them be able to identify neighborhoods that need their focus more than others.
The city says the grant applications will open up early this summer and Price hopes that years from now, they’ll be able to look back and see how the initiative made a difference.
“I hope we’ll be able to look at the survey and see what has happened and how we responded as a community,” he said. “We’ll say ‘Yeah, we really targeted this, that crime is down, gun violence is down,’ and we will see this is a helpful step to solve that problem.”
While applications are not open, you can receive notifications for when they do open. Click here to register for notifications.
To complete the community-wide survey, click here.