As violence escalates in cities across the country a Mecklenburg County organization is trying a new initiative to combat the growing problem. The Mecklenburg County Council of Elders is going neighborhood by neighborhood implementing their ‘No Shooting Zone’ Sign Campaign.
According to their website the Mecklenburg Council Of Elders consists of individual heads of nonprofit organizations that interact with the court system, youth, young adults, and the community. Their mission is to create a sense of safety, trust, and justice by providing programs and education awareness that will serve as an alternative to the arrest of youth and young adults ages 13 – 35. And to implement community services with goals and objectives toward 3 primary concerns: Prevention, Intervention, and Post Incarceration; thereby addressing the areas of Law, Justice, and Community Outreach.
Members of the council analyzed the zip codes throughout the county that with high levels of violence. From there they consulted with neighborhood associations in those zip codes about placing ‘no shooting zone’ signs. These signs are currently being enforced by CMPD officers. The founder of the group is Maria Macon. Macon along with other members first spoke with Johnny Jennings the CMPD Police Chief in July 0f 2020. She presented the idea of the signs, which were inspired by similar ones in other cities.
It’s not just the words on the signs. They also have a QR code that links to a video (viewer discretion is advised) that details how shootings can ruin the lives of everyone involved. Macon hopes that these deter youth and others from participating in violence. She also hopes they develop a sense of community pride for residents to keep violence out of the neighborhoods.