Advocates see decrease in gun violence in Lexington

Advocates see decrease in gun violence in Lexington
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 4:58 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington city leaders continue their efforts to make the city safer.

The Gun Violence Task Force met to discuss ways to prevent violence, focusing on gun access and mental health.

The city’s ONE Lexington is a part of that task force. They work with community partners to engage our youth.

Devine Carama, director of ONE Lexington, says they are putting forth many efforts to improve safety.

“The less homicides, the less shootings. For us, it’s not just about the numbers, but that means less families being impacted by gun violence,” Carama said.

He says they’ve seen a positive change across the city, and it’s a change they’ve been working towards for quite some time.

“We’ve seen the numbers come down this year which has allowed us to get into prevention mode a little bit more, so a lot of in-school mentoring programs, a lot of alternative programs for youth that have been impacted by gun violence, so it’s a busy, busy time.” He said.

Compared to this time last year, Carama says, there have been 31 fewer shootings in Lexington.

He says ONE Lexington has 16 different weekly groups that work throughout the community, and they reach nearly 300 students a week.

“Now we can focus on that.” Carama said, “We can bring community partners together, and we can be a little more strategic because we are not in the crisis mode we were in last year.”

He says when they compare this time last year to now, at the start of the school year, it’s like night and day.

That’s why they want to start focusing on prevention and getting to the root problems that start at such a young age.

“I think we’re finally getting past that post-COVID bump that really set a lot of our young people back in so many ways, and I think they’re finally just getting caught up. It’s a perfect storm of things happening in the city, and we just want to keep that momentum going,” Carama said.

There have been 14 gun-related homicides in 2023. In 2022, there were 27 gun-related homicides by this time of the year.

Carama says as they continue to work with those in the community, he is hopeful that this forward progress will continue.