FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Fayetteville Police Department is applying for a grant to curb gun violence in the community.

Police Sgt. Tony Murphy said the $625,000 grant would allow the department to hire five officers to focus on gun violence over the next three years.

“Our officers now are finding guns in vehicles almost everyday there are definitely a lot of people out there carrying weapons, criminals carrying weapons, that’s one of the reasons we applied for the grant so we can keep the people of Fayetteville safe,” Murphy said.

Murphy said the city has had a 26% increase in violent crime during 2020. So far this year, Fayetteville has had six shootings.

The City of Fayetteville voted this week to match the grant, so the department is in the process of applying for it now.