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Preliminary results in from Newport News gun violence survey

Newport News city leaders are going over data from the survey, hoping it will help them reduce crime in the city.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — On Tuesday, Newport News City Council members and researchers from Christopher Newport University took a look at the preliminary results of a community safety initiative survey sent out to residents in March. 

City leaders said more than 2,000 people gave their responses to the survey. The goal for the survey is to identify the root causes of crime in the city, particularly finding ways to reduce gun violence. 

CNU researchers presented some of the results, showing some of the primary concerns for some residents are mental health, poverty, unsupervised children, and homicides.

Some have said the increase in gun violence across Hampton Roads is causing fear and heartbreak.

“It’s definitely impactful just to see loved ones, see community leaders, see community citizens just sad and just wanting a change in our community," said John Eley, a Newport News community advocate. 

Newport News city leaders said they are trying to find ways to save lives.

They are working with the Center for Crime, Equity, and Justice Research and Policy at CNU to conduct a comprehensive Gun Violence Community Assessment.

Eley is a member of the Newport News School Board. He has organized several events in hopes of raising awareness to end gun violence.

“It’s not a one-fix issue. It starts at home. It starts with education. It starts with programs," said Eley. 

In March, city leaders asked the people to fill out a 36-question survey about safety and crime in the city. The end goal is to create new programs and services addressing gun violence.

Eley said adding more jobs in the city is one way to reduce crime. Eley said it's one of the reasons he started an organization called the “What’s Next Program” to help people stay out of jail and find employment.

“You’re giving that direct citizen who may be a felon, who may be involved in a gang, who may have had a troubled life. You’re giving them an opportunity for workforce development and when you have that opportunity for workforce development, crime goes down," said Eley. 

The next step is for the city to hand out grants to organizations for gun violence intervention programs. 

City leaders started a grant program as part of the Gun Violence Intervention initiative. They will give money to community-based organizations that offer programs, initiatives, or strategies to reduce gun violence.

The deadline to apply is June 24.

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