SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Hot dogs, snacks, and giveaways were all a part of the Party with a Purpose on Wednesday evening at Canaan Village Apartments.
But behind the community gathering was a deeper goal of helping stop crime in Shreveport's Allendale neighborhood.
"Over the last month of so, we've had some shots fired, a couple people shot. We are trying to get on top of it," said Cpl. Michael Dunn, a community liaison officer with the Shreveport Police Department.
Last month, 19-year-old Cardarius Miller was killed near Canaan Village.
Not far away, 4-year-old Messiah Murphy was killed in a shooting earlier in the month.
Officers hope to build relationships with community members and encourage residents to start neighborhood watch groups.
"Let them know we are gonna be here for them and we are as concerned as they are about the problems they are having," Dunn said.
"And if they would help us, we can and will get a hold of the problem they are having."
Shreveport recently received a $1 million community-based crime reduction grant from the Justice Department.
The grant is specifically geared toward the Allendale neighborhood doing more things like Wednesday's gathering.
"In conjunction with SPD and Community Development, we have found things we are going to be doing for the next two to three years to combat crime in our area. And it's going to be community based," explained Andranelle Williams, who represents the community-based crime reduction grant.
It's a goal everyone seems to share.
"I pray in the name of Jesus that things do change," said preacher Jonathan Ruffins, of Magnolia Baptist Church.
"But I know we have to come together as community," he added. "This is where my roots came from. And I would love to get it back the way it used to be."
Canaan Village and Canaan Towers are working together to show they are a united group, Canaan Village resident Mittie Farrow said.
"We are not a part of what's going on, the killings and all the things. We are just prayer warriors praying to God.
"We'll intercede. And he said after prayer, get up and go to work. So we're gonna go to work."