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Winston-Salem Police are targeting gangs and their guns in 2020

City leaders and law enforcement talked about this year's violence prevention plans Tuesday.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Winston-Salem Police department is pooling resources more than ever in an effort to cut down on violent crime.

Chief Catrina Thompson was joined by Forsyth County's District Attorney and Sheriff, plus other local and state officials as she outlined the department's 2020 plans to cut down on crime.

The biggest goals for the department are curbing gang violence and getting guns out of their hands. 

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Chief Thompson said officers seized 900 guns last year and the city is already on track to reach that high again.

Some of the department's task forces and specialty units will work more closely together and share resources going forward to target gangs and repeat offenders.

Officials said it's time to work together to stop gangs and make Winston-Salem safer for the next generation.

"We lost three children out of our schools it's time to end that we have to work together as a community to bring about change," said Chief Thompson.

Despite these new efforts, District Attorney Jim O'Neill said the city is pretty safe compared to other cities. 

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He admitted Winston-Salem's homicide numbers are at a high not reached since the 1970s, but said the rate is lower because the city's population has doubled.

“When you look at a recent rating where Winston-Salem stands compared to the rest of similar-sized cities across North Carolina,folks we are the safest city in all of North Carolina," said O'Neill.

One big hope for the city is to install a gunshot detection system--a program that will notify officers as soon as bullets are fired. The Winston-Salem Police Department already has a grant for it.

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