With shootings among teens on the rise this year, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to sign off on a $40,000 grant to fund “neighborhood and school-based violence prevention programs” in the county.
The money comes from the Project Safe Neighborhoods Task Force, an initiative by the federal Department of Justice “that brings together federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, community-based partners, and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.”
“This is very much needed,” District 2 Commissioner Vilma Leake said at Tuesday’s meeting.
While overall violent crime has dropped in 2023, shootings among individuals under the age of 18 have spiked 32% from 2022 levels, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said earlier this fall.
“The rate at which we are seeing juveniles pull the trigger is alarming, and points to a greater community problem,” Deputy Chief Jacquelyn Hulsey said during an October briefing. “Our kids need to go back to being kids. They need to be engaged in sports, and they need to be participating in youth activities and programs.”
Specifics of the program or a timeline to implement the funds weren’t provided.
It’s not the first time the task force has awarded grants to the Charlotte area.
Mecklenburg County received $125,000 through the program earlier in 2023 to help pay for body cameras for those working at the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, and the City of Charlotte received millions across multiple grants in 2023 to fund violence prevention efforts, efforts to work through DNA backlogs and more.
Other Mecklenburg County Commission votes
Commissioners voted unanimously to certify the results of the $2.5 billion bond referendum for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools approved by voters in early November. About 63% of voters cast ballots in favor of the record-setting bond, which will pay for 30 projects.
The commission also approved a lease extension for Discovery Place Nature.
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