Americus police chief calls for month of prayer following uptick of violent crime

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 8:09 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - One police chief in the Chattahoochee Valley is calling for his city to put down the guns and pick up bibles.

Americus Chief of Police Mark Scott says the violence has to stop. He tells News Leader 9 that he’s asking for 30 days of prayer for the city of Americus as crime has gotten out of hand.

Like many cities across the country on the backend of the pandemic, Americus is experiencing an uptick in crime.

“All this shooting, stabbing, killing. Put your hands up. Let’s represent for each other. We don’t need this. We want to see these children grow up. We want to get older and see our grandkids,” said Alecia Hill, Americus resident. “You can’t just go around here shooting up people, being gang related. The crime, it’s ridiculous around here. It needs to stop.”

The Americus Police Department is calling for divine intervention to combat crime in the city with a month of prayer. The call for 30 days of prayer is intended for the entire city and hotspots such as the McCoy Hill area.

Charlie Robinson, a McCoy Hill resident, tells News Leader 9 that he’s pleased with the work that the police do in his community. He thinks crime has decreased and wants to see more recreational activities return to the area.

“We’ve seen a decrease in this area here on McCoy Hill. I think the police do a wonderful job monitoring the park and all of that. We still have little things going on - young people out here,” said Hill. “People are going to be out here fighting because they ain’t got nothing to do and no where to go.”

According to APD, other areas of concern within the city of Americus include the Bessie Mays Circle area, Reddick Drive/ Tom Hall Circle, and Cherokee Street.

Chief Mark Scott says each week of the month of prayer for June will focus on a specific area. Scott tells News Leader 9 that the plan is to go into neighborhoods with the faith-based communities and interact with people in the areas through prayer and fellowship.

The chief noted that the city of Americus has already had three homicides so far this year; that’s usually around the total number the city would have for an entire year.

“Just in the last three years, the instances of drive-by shootings has doubled each year for the last three years. If it continues on the way it’s going this year, it’ll more than double this year,” said Scott.

Brenda Hargrove, an Americus resident, tells News Leader 9 that she avoids the areas at all costs and she’s concerned about the increase of crime in the city.

“I try to drive around. If I have to drive like two extra miles, I’ll drive around those areas. I won’t go through those areas. It’s become an every-night occurrence. You’re either hearing gunshots, or you’re hearing firecrackers, or you’re hearing screeching cars or something like that going on,” said Hargrove.

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