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Greensboro NAACP concerned about rise in violent crime

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- It may not have been the biggest crowd, but the group that came together at the New Light Missionary Baptist Church Sunday knew this was a start.

"There are many things that can come out of a conversation," said Leverne Carter, a concerned citizen.

The small but powerfully driven group knows they're not the only ones concerned and hopes more will come as they meet more frequently.

"As a citizen, parent, a grandmother and a former educator, I've been disturbed by the violence in our community," said NAACP Community Chair Yvonne Hunt-Perry.

Hunt-Perry got together several panelists between Greensboro City Council members, teachers from North Carolina A&T and members of the school district and Black Lives Matter to discuss the complicated issue of violence.

Weekly data from Greensboro Police shows most violent crimes have gone up so far in Greensboro compared to this time last year.

"It's disturbing," Hunt-Perry said. "You know even though my children are grown, I still worry about them when they leave."

"Just last week, I lost a 19-year-old cousin down in Kinston, North Carolina to gang violence," said Dean of the school of Education

One of the themes from the discussion was what kind of a role communities, like churches, can play in the lives of young people. The general consensus is folks need to be more involved in preventing violent crime.

"Young people need to know their community loves them," Carter said.

"We can hold city council accountable, we can hold the police accountable, but there are so many more people that need to be at the table," said Guilford County School board member Byron Gladden.

Organizers say Greensboro Police were invited but could not make the meeting. They hope to see them when they hold their next town hall.

"Due to scheduling conflicts, we had to respectfully decline.  The chief and our officers frequently participate in these types of discussions," GPD said in a statement. "We also lead efforts to make our city safer. We were simply overtaken during the time of this event and could not participate."