SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - KSLA News 12's Domonique Benn spent the last month interviewing more than a dozen Shreveport residents who say enough is enough. Most of the interviews took place in areas where there has been an uptick in violence.
Taking Back Our Streets is a conversation about the causes and possible solutions to the problem.
So far this year Shreveport has had 15 homicides. At this rate, we will surpass 2016 numbers.
Last year, the number of homicides jumped to 46 from just 28 in 2015. Most agree more police presence is needed in order to fight the problem.
Canaan Towers resident, Middie Farrow says, "You don't see them just kind of riding around so therefore there is no relationship between the officers who come when something happens." Farrow adds that children in the inner city often fear officers or stereotype officers in a negative way.
Quincy Aught is a Southwood High School senior who agrees with Farrow. He says he actually fears officers because of the negative highlights in regards to police involved shootings across the country. Aught has a 4.5 GPA and is the Senior Class President. He plans to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge in the fall. Aught has lost four friends to gun violence since the beginning of the year. Aught believes in mentoring. He is a mentor at Southwood. He says more people need to go into the inner city and mentor young kids and have conversations with the adults. He said he wants to find a solution and dreams of holding a conversation at a big venue. He said he has reach out to Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler.
Everyone we spoke with agrees this is everyone's problem.
Judy Williams lives in South Highlands, a primarily white neighborhood that doesn't see the violence like the inner city.
She adds that just because she lives in a different part of the city doesn't mean she doesn't care. She says what matters to her is the safety and welfare of all of our citizens. She also adds that Community Liaison Officers are key to developing great relationships within neighborhoods. Williams says, "I think that is the first step is to go out and listen to what these residents need. And then us as an entire community to come together to say what are some of the solutions, how can we help, how can we be more aware, how can we be a part of the solution?"
Charlette Edwards is a Public Health Scientist. She says it can be a matter of mental health. She says perpetrators are often victims themselves.
"I do know that people are hurting and I do know that hurt people will hurt other people. So if you don't address those issues whether it is grief, whether it is loss or whether it is unresolved trauma which are all mental health issues, you are allowing that person to be at greater risk as perpetrator of a crime."
Shreveport Police Chief Alan Crump weighed in on the violence issue and possible solutions his department is working on. He says if more residents would embrace officers and not be afraid of the uniform, there would be better communication when things happen in communities. Chief Crump says more money is needed to fight the crime. He blames the recent uptick in crime on a lack of funding to support special operations. However, he is working a plan to add commands or supervisors into police patrol cars. He is hoping that will help with communication between residents and officers. He agrees there is always room for improvement like patrolling more or communicated better with the community.
KSLA started the conversation and it must continue to find solutions. So we've asked this question: what are you doing to make our neighborhoods safer? We want to share the efforts that could lead to safer communities. We're going to keep asking those tough and difficult questions. and hold those in our communities and those in power accountable. Email us at email@example.com.
Domonique Benn hosted a live chat Monday on Facebook ahead Wednesday's special broadcast.