NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Some areas of New York City have become more dangerous since the pandemic started, as shootings have nearly doubled citywide over the past two years.
There's one neighborhood that knows the reality of gun violence more than anywhere, and a group of moms are trying to get through that reality together.
"We are dealing with new parents each month," said Jackie Rowe-Adams, who started Harlem Mothers SAVE.
Rowe-Adams lost her 17-year-old son to gun violence and formed the group to provide support to parents -- and to prevent more gun violence.
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The group meets monthly in Harlem around a table that's surrounded by pictures of their deceased children. They're starting to run out of space on the memory board.
"It's not easy, you know, and it brings back so many memories," Rowe-Adams said.
When she started the group, she had five parents. Today, there are more than 60.
"It's sad, but they give me comfort when I come here," said Joeann Brye, who lost her son to gun violence.
The support group is needed now more than ever.
"Every time we come, there's always a new mother," said Mona Brown, who also lost her son to gun violence. "There's so many mothers since I've come a few months ago."
NYPD crime data shows there has been a 95% increase in shooting incidents so far this year, compared to the same time period in 2019.
Also, the number of kids 17 and under getting shot has more than doubled in 2020 compared to 2019, the year before the pandemic started.
"We thought it would stop," Rowe-Adams said. "It's worse now than ever."
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Just last month, while a 14-year-old was shot getting onto an MTA bus in Harlem, NYPD detectives were in a meeting trying to come up with a plan to stop youth violence.
The detectives said youth violence is a top priority.
It will also be a top priority for incoming Mayor Eric Adams and his administration in the new year, to get those numbers down and to get guns out of the hands of children.
"We have to help them catch them, they can't do it alone," Rowe-Adams said. "And now that this new administration is coming in, we really have work to do. We cannot expect the mayor to change the world. We have to help change the world."
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