Lynchburg community members discuss improvements following double-shooting

By Rob Manch - Reporter

LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) - People in the Fairview neighborhood of Lynchburg met with the city for a second time Monday night following shootings and a string of car break-ins earlier this year.

Police and the city's Parks and Rec department have taken several steps to help curb violence in that area, and neighbors say its working. It's been three months since a pair of shootings in the neighborhood surrounding Younger Park brought the community together to make the area of the city safer.

Monday night, following a cooperation between the community and police, neighbors are happy to report progress has been made.

Lawrence Harper lives on Gills Street, just a block from Younger Park.

He says the nights have been much quieter recently, thanks to police.

"We have a whole lot more patrols going down back and forth to the park, watching what's going on down there. That didn't happen before, but after they had that shooting down there and we had that meeting before, anytime you want to look up most of the time you can see an officer going down there," said Harper.

Harper says the nights following last April's double-shooting in his neighborhood, people were shaken up.

"It was a little bit too close to home, to tell you the truth. It scared everybody," said Harper.

Lynchburg police officers say that's why they didn't feel like one simple meeting with the community was enough.

"We actually went door to door in the neighborhood. I believe we hit every street from Younger Park all the way back up to Maryland Avenue, hit every house on every street. And it wasn't police interaction, it was just knock on your door, hey how are you doing?" said Senior Officer Luther Rose.

"They actually come up and sit on your porch with you and talk to you and the policemen. You've never seen that before," said Harper.

Through that community interaction, police quickly honed in on the biggest concern.

"The major thing that we saw was juvenile crime, and that goes back to unsupervised children," said Rose.

To combat the issue, the Parks and Rec department has created a youth basketball league that holds games every Friday night, and in the Fairview neighborhood, police are working to establish a permanent neighborhood watch, with a president that communicates with the department.

It's an idea Harper fully supports.

"Watch out for your neighbors. If you see something going wrong, get on the telephone and call the police. That's what they're there for, and they will come. And the neighborhood watch, that's what it was all about," said Harper.

Moving forward, the City of Lynchburg is working to find a head for the Neighborhood Watch Association here in the Fairview Neighborhood, but in the meantime, police say neighbors can continue to expect to see heightened levels of patrols in the area to make sure that everyone stays safe.

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