Winston-Salem City Council working on plan to address gun violence in the city


WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — How to address gun violence in the city of Winston-Salem, especially when it occurs every night near some families?

The answer could come in the form of cameras and a more aggressive approach by Winston-Salem City Council members.

At Monday night’s Public Safety Meeting, city council members approved the discussion and creation of a plan that would add live-streaming cameras in communities hit hard by gun violence.

The motion was brought forward by Councilman James Taylor Jr., who oversees the Southeast Ward of the city.

He believes that, if the funding is approved, the cameras will give Winston-Salem police, and communities extra help to address the gun violence.

“Many folks who have information on a crime are reluctant to come forward because of fear of retaliation,” Taylor said. “This could be a way for us to work with those communities and see what’s happening at the same time.”

The funds for the cameras would either come from funds the city has or funds the city will receive if their JAG (Justice Assistance Grant) application goes through.

Between June 1 and Aug. 10, Winston-Salem police have responded to 849 illegal firearms calls, with 576 being unlawful discharging of a firearm, with 49 people reportedly being shot.

Winston-Salem police investigators have said that as of now, there have been a relationship between those who had done the shooting and the victims or the locations.

Councilwoman Annette Scippio, with the East Ward, addressed the issue and said innocent families are still being scared out of their homes.

Scippio pointed to the areas surrounding the Rolling Hills Apartments as being a very active gun violence location. Those who live in the area told FOX8 News they heard gunshots just about every night.

At Monday’s meeting, Scippio read a letter from a mother who lives nearby.

The letter read, in part: “I let me son get in bed with me when he was scared. And coached my girls into believing that we were safe between these walls of our homes. But this increasingly feels not true.”

Scippio reacted and said, “We have residents who are too afraid to sit on their porch. We have children who are too afraid to play in their front yards or their back yards … This gun violence cannot be solved from a social program that is going to take two or three years to effect. This is not a social program issue. This is very much like cancer.”

Councilwoman Morticia Parmon oversees the Northeast Ward. In Monday’s meeting, she asked what can be done about the violence involving youths.

Her biggest concern is the law which allows juveniles who have not committed felony crimes to be released back under their parents supervision.

“They’re going home to their parents who don’t hold them accountable for their actions. Then we’re enabling their actions,” she said.

Winston-Salem police confirmed that they are working with various judges, juvenile intake counselors and DOSS to strengthen the ability to take out Secured Custody Orders against violent juvenile offenders.

This would allow them to remain in juvenile detention custody until their court date.

The Public Safety Committee will meet against on Monday, Aug. 17, to discuss further action plans to address the violence, and discuss logistics of how a camera system would operate, or where the cameras could be placed.

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