CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- With two months left in 2019, Cumberland County is on its way to exceeding last year's homicide numbers.
Since the beginning of October, Fayetteville PD says there have been 20 homicides this year. They are just four shy from 2018's 24 murders.
Meanwhile, the sheriff's office has matched last year's number at six homicides.
"That is alarming and disheartening," Johnny Wilson said.
Wilson is the Executive Director at the Fayetteville Urban Ministry. He, along with others in the organization, work closely with FPD and the CCSO to encourage community policing and help young people find purpose.
FPD officials told ABC 11 that many of the murders are not random but between individuals that know each other, making it more difficult to tackle the number head-on.
Wilson said he believes instilling wholesome values in the younger generation is where you can address the homicide number, along with other crimes.
"We reach out to kids in holding them accountable. That starts at yay-high," Wilson said.
Wilson said programs like Find-A-Friend, a mentoring program that helps at-risk children, will enrich them with positive relationships that instill good values that can be applied for a lifetime.
"So many times these kids have not been asked one question and that is, 'why, why are you doing that?'" Wilson said.
FPD adds that many homicide cases go on behind closed doors, making it more vital that the community remains attentive and to have a watchful eye.
Wilson says that's the key to combating many of the crimes the community deals with.
"It impacts and affects all of us. It doesn't just happen over there. This is our community as a whole," Wilson said.
Fayetteville, Cumberland County on pace to exceed 2018's homicide number
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