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Roanoke’s violence prevention coordinator hopes to increase communication ‘without bureaucratic challenges’

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 12:44 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The number of homicides in Roanoke is now double the number of homicides in 2020.

Throughout the last few years, the gun violence prevention commission has discussed ways to decrease the gun violence in the Star City, and bringing in this position is one of many solutions.

Chris Roberts has been selected to the role of Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator. He will be a city employee, paid through grant money, and he’s hoping to increase communication with all residents, ‘without bureaucratic challenges.’

“Whether it’s a gang member, whether its a community member, whether its an elderly person, we need to hear exactly what’s most effective for them, that’s what I’m excited about, that’s the skill level I bring,” said Roberts.

A native of Roanoke, Roberts has experience working at the Juvenile Detention Center and Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.

For the last three years, the city of Danville has had a Youth and Gang Violence Prevention Coordinator, Robert David. David’s goal has been to show younger members of the community opportunities that they might not otherwise know about.

Roberts and David have already connected.

“I let him know that I accepted the position to be his counterpart in Roanoke. He was nothing but all praises and was willing to help me in anyway shape of form, I do plan on going to visit with him to see his model in action,” said Roberts.

Roberts will officially begin his new position October 5.

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