The Hurt Park community in Roanoke continues to celebrate growth and change. Two years ago the Roanoke City Police Department introduced the Drug Market Intervention(DMI) program to the neighborhood. Residents and police say the crime reduction program has lead to positive change sin Hurt Park. On Thursday, residents came together to sing Christmas carols through the community. They said the event is a sign of unity and commitment to keeping Hurt Park safe.
Annette Lewis has watched the Hurt Park neighborhood change over the years.
"We've seen new houses as well as more houses renovated and repaired" said Lewis.
Lewis said many of the improvements came as a result of the Drug Market Intervention program. Since DMI started two years ago, residents and police say they have seen crime go down and new businesses open in the community. Lewis said the Christmas caroling event is a way to keep the momentum going. She said last year's event was a sign of unity among residents. This year they also hope to raise awareness about domestic violence and other issues affecting families in the community.
"Last year we lost two female residents due to the hands of domestic violence" Lewis said. "This community is coming together to say we support the Drug Market Intervention and we support an increase of domestic violence awareness".
Residents along with Roanoke City police continue to take steps to build community partnerships and encourage more positive changes to Hurt Park.
"If businesses continue to come and invest and the police and community working together, I think we will continue to bring about a dramatic change in a very short time" said Chief Chris Perkins, Roanoke City Police.
Perkins said the DMI program has worked well in Hurt Park and in Melrose. Police are now looking to start a program in a third location.