Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Communities Unite To Fight Crime

Channel 5 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Hundreds of people marched in Antioch and attended a rally targeting youth violence Tuesday. The event was part of the National Night Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III, senior pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church Out Against Crime observance nationwide. Neighborhood associations and community groups across the country took part in celebrations and special events to mark the 25th annual national observance. Among the events Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas attended was a community wide collaboration in Antioch targeting youth violence. Participants marched along Bell Road and attended a rally at Hickory Hollow Mall. It was a march with a message that attracted hundreds of people. "It's a hard thing to see your community going down and see so many young people being mislead," said Alicia Bell. "To see people wiling to come out means that people are ready to do something, not just talk about it, but really put some programs behind, put some structure behind it," said Bishop Joseph Warren Walker, III, senior pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church, which sponsored the event. Metro Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite and her constituents, Hickory Hollow Mall, Regions Bank and Americhoice were the other major sponsors. Community and faith partners included Iglesia Monte Los Olivos, Antioch United Methodist Church as well as Metro Schools, Oasis Center and the Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The latest juvenile crime statistics show the number of juveniles arrested for robbery is down 18 percent compared to this time last year. Juvenile arrests for violent crimes are down 28 percent. "But we've got to be truthful with the public, with the families," Serpas said. "Because the children who are still being arrested for violent crime, they're still very violent kids." "We're all in this together," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. "We're a community and we need to work together to improve schools and to improve public safety." Elsewhere in Middle Tennessee, people gathered to also observe National Night Out Against Crime within their communities. Police officers and firefighters joined area neighbors in Stanford Estates on Downey Meade Court in the Donelson area. There were activities for children including a bike parade. But the heat forced one city to cancel their activities. The Cookeville Police Department planned an event at their headquarters. The department plans to reschedule, but an alternate date wasn't announced Tuesday.

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