RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — We’ve seen a rise in gun violence across the country since the pandemic.

Numbers from the Raleigh Police Department show a 34% increase in shootings this year compared to the same time last year.

According to numbers from RPD, there has been 70 shootings so far this year, compared to 52 in 2021 and 50 in 2020.

Gerald Givens Jr. is the President of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP. The group received a $2 million grant to reduce gun violence, District C Council Member Corey Branch said it was included in the city’s new budget.

“We have to recognize that now is the time for us to look at community violence intervention programs that can reduce what’s happening in our community,” Givens Jr. said.

He said the money will be used for behavior therapy for at risk people, survivor support services, beautifying communities and violence intervention programs.

“They help negotiate cease fires, you know shift the mood inside the neighborhood, and also treat folks who are experiencing trauma in the community,” Givens Jr. said.

Fatal shootings are up as well, 16 this year compared to 11 last year and 10 at this time in 2020, according to numbers from RPD.

Givens said the NAACP is now choosing organizations to partner with, the goal is to use the grant to reduce gun violence by 30% in at risk neighborhoods they’ll be working with.

RPD says it has seized 580 firearms this year and is encouraging the community’s assistance in calling in tips, no matter how small.

“The Raleigh Police Department is committed to making our city the safest in the country,” said a spokesperson for RPD in a statement. “Gun violence is part of a disturbing national trend leading to senseless loss of lives. The City of Raleigh has not been immune to it.”

The spokesperson said the department implemented a Firearm Violence Reduction Strategy in 2018 that uses intelligence-led policing to pinpoint crime hotspots and offenders, high visibility patrols in areas identified by crime patterns and partnering with the community to reduce gun violence.

“These pillars allow for a broader approach to addressing firearm violence by focusing on innovative officer training—such as de-escalation; working with and supporting our partners in the justice system; facilitating community engagement and education opportunities; and formulating private/public partnerships to reach more residents,” said the spokesperson.

At the county level, Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria says the county is in the early stages of creating a comprehensive gun violence reduction program. He said it would likely involve information sharing between municipalities and various law enforcement agencies.

He said the goal would be to address gun violence from not only a criminal justice approach, but also from a social perspective.