KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Kinston Mayor Don Hardy held his crime intervention task force Thursday, along with the help of special guests from across the state.

Attorney General Josh Stein and Dr. Gerard Tate, director of the North Carolina Office of Violence Prevention, addressed their concerns with crime. The Department of Justice has been working to address some of the factors that drive violent crime throughout North Carolina.

The main three concerns are fentanyl trafficking, law enforcement shortages and gun violence. Stein said North Carolina loses around eight people a day to fentanyl, and 11 people a day to other types of drug overdoses.  

“We’ve asked the general assembly to fund a fentanyl control unit in my special prosecution section, to assist local prosecutors across the state, and bring these time-consuming and complex drug trafficking cases,” he said.

He added that as he travels throughout different cities and towns, each and every police department and sheriff’s office has struggled with recruitment and retention of law enforcement. 

“We want to offer law enforcement hiring bonuses to new or out-of-state or retired military police, so they can come onto the job here,” Stein said.

He also wants to encourage gun owners to be responsible with their weapons and help keep them out of the hands of criminals and minors. 

“Guns are now the leading cause of accidental deaths for children in this country,” Stein said. 

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In Kinston specifically, they’ve had a recent uptick in shootings and armed robberies.

“Our crime has reduced up until a few days ago. So we’re doing a great job. It’s just that you have some individuals that are targeting, you know, gang activity. So we’re trying to address that,” said Hardy. 

By working together with these state agencies, the mayor hopes to curb crime throughout the city.