SAN ANTONIO – Neighborhood organizations throughout San Antonio are deciding to join forces to combat gun violence.
With many shootings having been reported across the city, neighbors’ concerns continue to spiral.
“I think irresponsible people are getting guns and they’re doing whatever they want like it’s a plaything, like it’s a toy,” said Lance Lebque, who lives in a North Side neighborhood where a shooting occurred.
Some people who live near where a fatal West Side shooting happened last weekend said they want to see change.
“We need programs about gun violence, you know, gun awareness, stuff like that so stuff like this won’t happen. We’re tired of it,” Laura Chabera said.
Crime statistics in 2022 from San Antonio police show that through October, homicides rose 67%, assaults increased by 5% and weapon law violations jumped more than 37%.
Community organizations across town have agreed -- they have to enter the conversation about how to combat area gun violence.
“I’ve never seen the uptick in youth violence, especially with middle school-aged kids here in our city. And we can no longer turn a blind eye to that,” Youth of Christ CEO Gilbert Hernandez said.
Earlier this week, organizations like Big Mama’s House, Rise and Recovery and Youth For Christ joined worked together to form their own Violence Prevention Office.
The following organizations agreed to be on a subcommittee:
- Monster Moms
- Against All Odds
- Communities in Schools
- San Antonio Raising Stars
- SAPD - Ron Brown
- San Antonio Youth for Christ
- Rise Recovery
- Big Mama’s Safe House
Eight organizations, including SAPD, will try to raise San Antonio’s Violence Prevention Index, which is a rating provided to cities by the national nonprofit Community Justice Action Fund.
It looks at 35 areas that aid public health responses to violence, including firearm regulation and crime reporting, as well as employment and health programs.
According to the report, San Antonio scored a low 16 out of 100.
“We want to score better than a 16 out of 100. We know there are a lot of initiatives that work. I know that our city is unique. That will require specific different initiatives that work for our town,” CEO of Rise and Recovery Evita Morin said.
San Antonio could raise its score by implementing public health strategies like addressing housing & food insecurity and increasing education about guns and mental health.
Many of those programs exist but are not working cohesively.
“The challenge right now is everybody speaking from their box. And that’s great and great partners are here and great people doing great work. But the truth is, we need to unite and have one voice in the city and that’s to advocate for the safety of our children,” Hernandez said.
The next meeting has not been scheduled yet, but they plan to look at best practices for violence prevention, possible funding and work with the mayor on forming an Office of Violence Prevention.
In 2021, Austin formed its own Office of Violence Prevention.
The 2022 City Violence Prevention Index can be found below:
2022 City Violence Prevention Index by Cody King on Scribd