City presents report on how to reduce youth gun violence


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County deputies said they found a loaded handgun in a 14-year-old girl’s backpack at Williston middle school today. As investigators look into why the student brought a gun to school, coincidentally community members talked gun violence Thursday night.

For about one and half to two years Wilmington city leaders, UNCW staff and other community organizations have been working on a plan to reduce youth gun violence. Thursday night, city officials presented a report pointing out four initiatives to be the focus of keeping kids safe. These four points include prevention and intervention, law enforcement, education and jobs.

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Some of the strategies to stop youth gun violence that were discussed are promoting better relations between law enforcement and the public, more mentorship programs and creating job opportunities through churches and volunteer organization.

Bill Kawczynski, a community partnership specialist at UNCW, said they are confident if the community gets involved and focuses on these points, youth gun violence can be reduced.

“To keep that ball or that needle moving forward, this is now a community initiative, so all the community is responsible for moving this needle forward instead of just one entity working with the community,” said Kawcynski.

The presentation also highlighted some recent achievements like the success of the city’s summer job program for high school students and employment opportunities through Home Town Hires and Phoenix Employment Ministries.