Columbus residents, city officials hold public safety meeting to address violence concerns

Published: Feb. 20, 2021 at 7:02 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus residents and city officials came together Saturday to work toward bridging the gap while discussing issues impacting our community, like crime, gangs, and poverty at the public safety townhall meeting.

Jennifer LeDenney is one of the couple hundred Columbus residents, who made their voice heard at the meeting.

“We need to stop thinking this is a Southside problem. It’s not. Bullets don’t have a name. It’s going to spread throughout the city if we don’t get a hold of it,” said LeDenney. “And it’s not just about the gang violence. We also have a lot of poverty issues we need resolved. I’m just hoping with this that we can educate each other on what can resolve some of the problems we’re having to reduce some of the gang violence, the gun violence, and some of the poverty issues we’re having. It’s not all just violence.”

According to District 4 Councilor, Toyia Tucker, tackling these issues is going to take a village.

”So the citizens were able to have a Q and A session to ask questions about crime in our community,” said Tucker. “It’s not going to be one prescription that cures this crime. It’s going to take all of us.”

According to law enforcement officials, they’re working on building trust within the community. They’re working on setting up an anonymous tip hotline to encourage the community to speak up when they see something going on in their community.

“We want to be able to establish that olive branch,” said Sheriff Greg Countryman. “We want to be able to build that bridge to where we can tell them, look you can trust us. If you don’t trust someone else, you can trust us.”

According to Police Chief Freddie Blackmon, a multifaceted approach will need to take place in order to solve crimes.

“Law enforcement is one piece to solve crimes, but we need others throughout the community to step up and assist in solving crimes,” said Police Chief Freddie Blackmon.

Saturday’s discussion is the first step in cleaning up Columbus.

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