RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- New crime data released by Raleigh Police shows there's a problem with gun violence among young people in the city. More children have access to guns and use them.
In the last three months of 2022 eleven percent of all reported aggravated assaults were committed by children.
Eyewitness News sat down with three teens, Jordan Adams, Mah'Naiah Hood-Baker and Miracle Powell, to have a candid conversation about the current climate in our community, in hopes of finding out why more young people are turning to guns.
"I know a lot of men, young men that actually have guns on them right now," said Adams.
The high school senior said it's not just young men with guns. There are young girls as well.
"I feel like young women are carrying guns, not just young men, but I mean, that's who I've seen, like flexing. And then, of course, those young men will link up with girls that go to our school, and then give them the gun. So now they're carrying the same gun," he said.
Miracle Powell said peer pressure and social media are also factors influencing young people to carry a gun.
"Feeling the need to do something knowing that you really don't want to do it, just to make yourself look good. And that could also fall in the lines of carrying a gun," Powell said. "Because you only carry the gun to look good for the next person or your friend."
For some of our young people going down the wrong path, they said it is a learned behavior.
"It's a lot of young boys that will look up to the older brother and their older brothers looking up to their uncle. Sometimes most of the time, it's not really their dad, because a lot of the parents in the black community are splitting up right now," said Adams. "So, it really just be other parts of their family that are trying to care for him but are just showing them a different type of role model."
Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson put out a call for the community to step in to help guide young people in a better direction, but the teens said the groups who step up need to come with more than just talk. They said teens need more opportunities to make money.
"Most of the people that are out here, like most of the teens out here doing the things you're doing, you can ask them, so why are you doing this, like money," said Mah'Naiah Hood-Baker.
"Money just motivates people, even if it doesn't make you the best or happiest person at least is going to motivate you to do this or move out of the situation," he said.
The group shared, it's hard being a teen right now and they don't know everything. They welcome guidance from adults but ask them to leave the judgment at the door.
"Be open-minded to and also comforting, like not it's not always just about money. It's also about how you talk to that person," said Powell.
"If you talk to a lot of people who have done bad things, who still are trying to better themselves, they've learned that they just needed somebody to just guide them," said Adams.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 6,000 children injured or killed by gunfire in 2022. That represents more than a five percent increase from 2021.