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City of Little Rock declares violent crime a public health emergency amid surge in shootings

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(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — The City of Little Rock, Arkansas, has declared violent crime a public emergency amid a surge in shootings in recent weeks.

The city’s board of directors approved the resolution for the declaration after it was introduced during a meeting Tuesday by Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.

The resolution “demands the attention of policymakers” and includes provisions to fund community partners via grants and other funding, hire more mental health workers and add additional officers to the Little Rock Police Department’s street crimes unit, documents obtained by ABC News show.

Firearm violence “poses a serious threat to the health and quality of life of all residents of the City of Little Rock, Arkansas,” the resolution states.

During the meeting, several board members voiced their concerns about escalating gun violence in the city, ABC Little Rock affiliate KATV reported. At least 10 people were injured in multiple shootings over the weekend, according to police.

“The loss of life is just astounding, and I look at it as basically a whole generation is being genocided,” city director Doris Wright said during the meeting.

Crime rates in the city have been exacerbated by the pandemic, said city director Capi Peck.

“I wish we would have done this long ago,” Peck said. “It’s not new. It has escalated.”

The resolution passed after the meeting lasted nearly five hours, KATV reported. Scott thanked the board of directors in a tweet late Tuesday for approving the resolution.

ABC News’ Ahmad Hemingway and Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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