DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – As the number of shootings in Durham are on the rise, there is one group that has been working for one year now on ideas to create a safer city. 

According to the latest data from Durham police, 89 people have been shot so far in 2022, a number that is up from the 78 people shot at this time in 2021 and the 72 people shot in 2020.

The Community Safety and Wellness Task Force has been meeting monthly since April of 2021 and its mission is to recommend programs to enhance public safety and wellness. They rely on community-based prevention, intervention and re-entry services as alternatives to policing and the criminal legal system. 

The 17-member team is made up of city council members, county commissioners, school board members and other members of the community. 

“There’s not a week that goes by where some aspect of this group doesn’t come together,” Xavier Cason said, a co-chair of the task force. “We look for resources, look for gaps and look for policy changes that may be necessary.” 

The city has invested $1 million into this task force, and those funds are used for stipends for members. The funds will also be used for the implementation of future programs that they will recommend. They also are planning to hire researchers to help with analysis of the data they have collected.

Since it has been one year since the task force started meeting, CBS 17 caught up with Cason and fellow co-chair Marcia Owen through a zoom call this week. 

The two co-chairs said over the last year they’ve held focus groups on the unarmed responder pilot program the community safety department is about to launch.  

In addition, they have also done reviews on various crime prevention and assistance programs for victims, but the co-chairs said the biggest thing they have found is a growing need for more services that can help gunshot wound survivors. 

“We found there are not many services available,” Owen said. “For some reason we have really kind of turned our backs on those who’ve been harmed.” 

Owen said in response to this, the task force is proposing to start listening sessions for victims of gun violence to help them deal with trauma. 

“You didn’t get hurt by yourself and you shouldn’t be expected to heal by yourself,” Owen said. 

The task force will meet for another year before bringing their final recommendations to city and county leaders. 

The task force has already begun having listening sessions with families of homicide victims.  

For more information on these listening sessions or about the Community Safety and Wellness Task Force, contact them at communitysafety@durhamnc.gov