More churches fighting crime
The recent spike in violent crime has sparked a community pushback to attack the problem at its root and local churches are taking the lead.
For years, the 10-Point Coalition, a group of inner city churches, has walked the streets trying to address criminal behavior before it erupts into violence, but they can only cover so much ground. Now, churches like Light of the World Christian Church on the city's northwest side, are stepping up, joining law enforcement and city leaders to do more to help.
Tuesday night, Light of the World held the city's second community conversation lead by City-County Council President Maggie Lewis. It was an opportunity to get the community together to sit down and talk solutions. People of all ages, from youth to senior citizens, sat down in small groups to identify the issues they see as problems and talk strategy about how to fix them.
Law enforcement leaders have long called for a stronger community effort that included more churches getting involved. They said this is a strong start toward reducing the violence.
"I was talking to a group of youth and they were talking about a group of challenges they were facing and one of things they said they liked more than anything is when a church opens its doors and lets them use a gymnasium, let's them use a game room where they can be safe and secure and they can have fun. They just want to be kids," said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.
Light of the World also hosted a youth lock-in last week that drew hundreds of teens from around the city including some known gang members. But church leaders said the event was peaceful, offering food, entertainment and a message.
These are the types of events law enforcement would like to see a lot more of going on in every neighborhood around the city fighting crime on a personal level.
Lewis will compile notes from Tuesday night's conversation and present them to law enforcement leaders as a plan of attack on violence in our city.