NORFOLK, Va - It's a question many are asking these days: What can be done to help stop gun violence?
On Tuesday afternoon, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new numbers showing the toll gun violence has taken on America.
Nationwide, the CDC says there's been a 35% increase in the gun homicide rate, with 2020 seeing the highest numbers in more than two decades. More than 19,000 people died in a gun-related homicide in 2020, according to the CDC.
"Firearm injury is tragically a major public health problem in the United States," said Dr. Debra Houry, director of CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
The numbers went up across all age groups, among men and women and in both rural and metropolitan communities, but the increases were felt most in areas with concentrated poverty.
"Firearm deaths are preventable, not inevitable, and everyone has a role to play in prevention," said Houry.
The numbers also show a widening gap. The homicide rate among black males between 10 and 24 years old was more than 26 times higher than white males of the same age group.
"The increases in firearm homicide rates and persistently high firearm suicide rates in 2020, combined with increases among populations that were at high risk, have widened disparities and heightened the urgency of actions to prevent violence," said Dr. Thomas Simon from the CDC's Division of Violence Prevention.
As for potential solutions, the CDC says there is evidence things like violence interrupters are working. These are people with trust in the community who can help diffuse tension before things escalate.
The CDC also says things like mentoring, mental health treatments, and revitalizing vacant properties can help.
"Revitalized vacant lots in communities have been associated with reduced firearm assaults," said Houry.
Gun violence, like the rest of the country, has been an issue in Hampton Roads. Local mayors met last week to continue discussions on how the region can work together to address gun violence.