Little Rock leaders call on community to change the course of violence in city

Crime

LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Another violent weekend in Little Rock has the city seeing its deadliest year since the 90s. 

Little Rock Police reported its 61st homicide of the year Monday. According to police records, the last time numbers were that high was in 1993 with 70 homicides. 

“Things back then looked a little bit worse than they are now,” said co-founder of Love, Let Our Violence End Stephen Christian. “There was a lot of killing and a lot of violence. We’re seeing it trending back that way.” 

Monday, LRPD responded to three different shootings all within hours of each other. One of the shootings resulted in the city’s 61st homicide of 2021. 

“I’m certainly surprised, certainly hurt, but we cannot be so hurt and surprised that we are inactive,” said Christian. 

Christian has been working alongside Robert Holt since 1994 to try and stop violence in the city. They say the solution starts before a neighborhood is taped off. 

“The problem is that we’re always reactive. We are never proactive,” said Holt who is the Executive Director of Love, Let Our Violence End. 

In the last year, Holt and Christian say violence is impacting the younger generation at an alarming rate. 

Monday police responded to a shooting involving a 16-year-old and Friday another shooting involving a 13 & 14-year-old. 

“It’s a lack of love and we need to counteract that,” said Christian. 

The two-day solution is giving kids someone to look up to, calling on the need for mentors. 

“It’s more than just coming over and saying ‘Hey, what can I do to help you?’ It’s the consistency of that, it’s the consistency of letting them know I am here for you and I am here to love you,” said Holt. 

Many other organizations are working to create similar mentorship programs. Holt and Christian say they need volunteers to help. 

“There is no one solution and what we must do is coming together,” said Christian. 

They say it will take a village and a little bit of love to turn off lights, take down tape and stop the violence. 

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