NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Norfolk residents and members of the New Virginia Majority group have begun meeting school buses in the St. Paul’s area and escorting students home as part of an effort to help reduce violence in the community.

Volunteers have spent the past week meeting buses after school, coinciding with gun firings and shootings in the area, according to New Virginia Majority.

It’s part of a pilot program organizers started after observing that when they hosted community events, even at times when more shootings have typically taken place, the shooting would stop.

It said community members are calling for emergency call boxes to be installed to add lighting. They also want to make contacting emergency services more readily available.

The escorts, it said, is an ongoing effort by residents and the group’s organizers.

“The occasional police patrols are not enough,” said Monet Johnson, lead housing justice organizer for New Virginia Majority in a statement. “We need more from the city. The children of St. Paul are just as important as any other children in Norfolk, and now it seems it’s up to us to help protect them.”