Recent shootings prompt calls for change in the Chattahoochee Valley; mayor, community discuss crime prevention

Recent shootings prompt calls for change in the Chattahoochee Valley; mayor, community discuss crime

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Within the past couple of weeks, there have been seen more shootings than can be counted on two hands in the Chattahoochee Valley.

News Leader 9 reached out to local officials and members of the community to see what ideas people have to stop these violent crimes.

It’s been emotional for people to even speak about the recent loss of life here in the Chattahoochee Valley community.

People said the best way they can think of to help is by starting with the youth.

“It’s not the mayor’s fault, that’s for sure. You can’t have police on every corner, never can. It’s not his fault, he’s doing the best he can.”

“I just think we have to start young," added Jimmy Fosters. "I really believe if we focus more on the youth and keeping the youth from seeing what’s going on and go positive with the youth and keep them going in a positive direction, when they’re adults, they will continue on being positive.”

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said there are two programs coming to Columbus next year to help keep kids busy during their off-time.

A free pass to local pools, museums, and parks with free transportation on Metra busores for kids ages 12 to 15. 16 to 18-year-olds will have a chance to earn some money working with the city.

They’re bringing back the Columbus Youth Work Program to hire students during the summertime. Henderson said he hopes the pilot summer will go well enough to expand the following year.

Although there isn’t much that can be done legislatively to prevent violence, Henderson said it comes down to keeping the youth productive and positive.

Henderson said enforcement goes along with prevention. He adds, it’s important that people come forward when violent crimes happen, so suspects are apprehended.

If the community keeps quiet, there could be retaliatory crimes or even further crimes by the same suspects.

Several cases are still under investigation on both sides of the river.

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