|Updated: 8/02/2012 9:23 pm
||Published: 8/02/2012 9:19 pm
PINE BLUFF, AR – Clergy members from several Pine Bluff churches held a unity meeting Thursday night to discuss how to combat crime in their community.
Pine Bluff Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office say violent crime and drug abuse are on the rise. That is why the group of local church leaders are coming to together to figure out ways to make the community safer.
"We try to reach our kids at an early age we have programs now that start in the 2nd and 3rd grade we try to teach kids to say ‘yes ma'am’ and ‘no sir.’ Those types of things we start early, when we wait until a child is 15 years old it's too late to give them guidance,” said Ivan Whitfield, Deputy Chief with the Pine Bluff Police Department.
Thursday’s discussion touched on educating the youth and reaching out trough community programs and mentoring.
“We're asking for the congregations and the city of Pine Bluff, the men the male role models to step up to the plate,” said Whitfield. “I think if that happens we'll be able to solve this thing called crime."
Clergy members say focusing more time on children, bringing them back into the church, and teaching them crime is not an option is their goal.
"Crime prevention is a community problem," said Pastor Jesse Turner of the Elm Grove Baptist Church
Law enforcement realizes crime cannot be eradicated from the community, but by coming together and reaching out to those who need guidance they can greatly reduce it.
"You can teach people to not take from other people, to respect their property, respect individuals, don't use weapons to solve problems, and use words to solve problems,” said Turner.