Buffalo mother launches non-profit to help curb violence

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- A grieving Buffalo mother is calling on the community to act to help solve dozens of homicides.

“As long as they’re silent, the murders are going to continue,” said Saprina Wilkins, who lost her son to gun violence.

On March 5, 2016, 22 year old James Mitchell was shot and killed on the 300 block of Weston Ave., at about 11 p.m. His mother told News 4 he was enrolled at Bryant and Stratton College, seeking a career in criminal justice.

“He was doing something with his life and that’s what really hurts because someone took his future from him, took his future from us,” said Wilkins. “Instead of seeing him walk across the stage, getting his degree we had to be making funeral plans for him.”

Wilkins said that pain is with her every day. She still doesn’t know who killed her son.

There are more than 30 unsolved homicides from 2016.  There have been 17 deadly shootings in 2017, Buffalo Police have only solved one.

A spokesperson for the Buffalo Police Department told News 4 they are making progress in a number of homicides.

To help BPD get valuable information from the public, Wilkins launched a non-profit called Love is Loud.

“When you love someone you can’t be quiet, you can’t be silent, love is an action word,” said Wilkins.

Wilkins told News 4 that many people are afraid to report crimes to police. Her website allows people to submit anonymous tips to her, which she then passes along to police.

“If I can help someone else to get through this or if I can be an encouragement to someone else to let them know we can make a difference, people will talk if they know they can trust you, if they know their word means something,” said Wilkins.

She told News 4 she’s received an outpouring of support from her community. Wilkins started the organization through her Genesee St. church Refreshing Springs. The company she works for, 360 PSG, helped create the Love is Loud website.

The website not only has a place to submit anonymous tips, it also has information about crime statistics and resources for families who have lost a loved one to violence.

Wilkins plans to hold monthly meetings to give support to grieving families and talk about ways to curb violence in the community.

She’s looking for volunteers and donations to continue to expand the program.

“We can be out there helping ourselves and I believe if we come together in the community and the community sees us doing this, the crime rate may go down,” said Wilkins.

Buffalo Police ask anyone with information that could help homicide investigations, to get that information to officers.

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