Springfield NAACP, 50 citizens, city/county officials working to stop violence


A recent increase in shootings and shots-fired incidents in recent months prompted a community meeting Thursday night, led by the Springfield Chapter NAACP, to talk about what can be done about the seemingly continuing violence.

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More than 50 residents, concerned for their safety and perceptions about their city, met with city and county leaders at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, on West Pleasant Street. The meeting's working theme was "Stop the violence ... enough is enough."

There had been a spike of homicides in Springfield at the beginning of the year. The city's last recorded homicide was July 20. There have been a number of shootings since then, including four from Aug. 24 through 27.

“The community is very concerned about the violence they want answers they want solutions," chapter President Denise Williams said. "The community is tired of coming to a round table talking to our panel. They’re tired of having the same discussions.”

Williams has said she believes mistrust exists between the community and police, which is why those who witness violent crime don’t cooperate with law enforcement investigations. She hoped the meeting would be a step toward erasing the chasm.

PHOTO: James Buechele/Staff
PHOTO: James Buechele/Staff

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She's looking for volunteers to join a committee that will look for ways to raise money for projects that will have a positive impact on the city's youth. Williams getting a recreation center for youth is the top item on the local NAACP chapter's to-do list.

And as promised, those who attended Thursday night gathered in a circle before going their separate ways to pray for the city and an end to the violence.

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