Forsyth County Sheriff Addresses Rise In Gun Violence And Root Causes

Forsyth County Sheriff Addresses Rise In Gun Violence And Root Causes

2:24pm Jun 02, 2021
Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough prepares for his weekly podcast. The room where he records is housed in the agency's administrative office building in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. KERI BROWN/WFDD

The number of shootings taking place in Winston-Salem is on the rise, leaving public officials and law enforcement concerned and looking for answers. In response, a new policing unit is being formed to slow the surge in gun violence.

Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough tells WFDD’s David Ford that he’d like to see more attention paid to the root causes behind this latest wave.

Interview Highlights

On the rising numbers of shootings: 

I mean if you’re looking for a pattern, the pattern is they’re happening in the same area, geographical are. If you say why they’re happening, we have had more shootings now than we had this time last year. The numbers are jumping through the roof. What I will tell you is that there are a lot of factors that are taking place. You know I’ve said many times we’re quick to look at the fruit but never address the root. Why is this tree bearing this type of fruit? Why is this happening? There are social issues that we have yet to address that bring about criminal issues. And those being poverty, those being illiteracy, those being food deserts, there’s been resources that are not enough to go around. 

On investing in underserved communities:

Imagine a place and a space where we took and redirected these young kids — elementary, middle school kids — to where we brought them in and helped them with their homework, gave them a snack, we gave them some leadership skills, some diffusion skills, how to deal with their emotions, how to teach them how to make decisions not based on emotions, but intellectual decisions. We give them some what I call soft skills and bring them out of a place. You will start to change that atmosphere. You will start to change some minds. Expose them to some different things. You don’t know what you don’t know. 

On the new law enforcement unit to combat escalating gun violence:   

I’m going to have to take deputies from somewhere else to bring here. So, I’ve got to figure out where to get money, overtime, to pay them to assist. Now what happens is, when you start moving resources, something has the ability to go lacking.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This transcript was lightly edited for clarity.

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