For a city with fewer than 90,000 people, Trenton, N.J., is quickly becoming a city under siege and under the gun. The number of people being murdered in New Jersey’s capital city is on pace to surpass the record number of homicides in the city for a single year, according to statistics and other information released earlier this week in the city.

After an especially violent past weekend that included four murders, 27 people have been murdered so far this year in Trenton—three more than in all of 2012 and only four less than a single homicide record year of 31 in 2005. There are still four and a half months left in 2013. Things have become so dangerous in Trenton that some officials, city leaders, church leaders and community activists are considering calling in the National Guard to protect the city.

Last week, embattled Trenton Mayor Tony Mack reissued a request to Gov. Chris Christie for additional funding from the state to re-hire furloughed police officers and hire new ones. Mack is battling his own legal issues, including pending federal corruption charges.

In response to the wave of violence in the city, a group of Trenton men formed a mentor group called Fathers and Men United for a Better Trenton. The group hopes to raise awareness to curb the violence plaguing the city and provide young men with the some of the essentials to stay out of trouble. “Our young people need positive role models and other things to do that will keep them off the streets,” said Tracey Syphax.

Syphax, 50, spent years in and out of jail before turning his life around and becoming a successful businessman in Trenton, employing dozens of former inmates. Syphax chronicles his life from thug to entrepreneur in the memoir, “From the Block to the Boardroom.”