According to Buffalo Police reports, there have been 17 homicides in the city during June, July and August. That number is more than the number of homicides in the first five months of 2016 combined. January through May saw 15 murders.
Leonard Lane is the president of Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S., a community group working to curb violence in the city. He's also a Buffalo Peacemaker. Lane says much of the violence he sees in the community is born from misunderstanding.
"That's what I think you're seeing this summer," he said. "Kids living in different areas of the city. Being if it's the east side. Being if it's the west side. Being if it's different pockets of neighborhoods. I think they feel there is a difference between them. But there is not a difference between these two men, these two young boys, who are both at risk."
Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S. has been operating for about 15 years. Buffalo Peacemakers is a collaborative effort uniting similar anti-violence groups in the city that's been around for about three years. Lane says the group has made headway in that time.
"We are out here in our communities. We are out on the streets on a daily basis," he said. "We're talking with these young men and young girls about gun violence in our community and neighborhood."
Lane and other volunteers use those conversations to teach kids about how to resolve issues without turning to violence.
"We make sure that our children are able to sit down and able to talk to one another," he said. "As opposed to pulling out guns and shooting one another."
Buffalo F.A.T.H.E.R.S and some of the other community groups are gearing up for schools to open next week. Volunteers will be standing on street corners to make sure children and teens can walk to and from school safely.
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