LITTLE ROCK, Ark – Emotions run high as community leaders beg the public to join in on solutions to slow crime in Little Rock.
“We’re seeing babies get killed,” said Leifel Jackson. “Every time one of these children gets shot and killed, there’s another younger person that’s under the age of 20 that’s pulling the trigger.”
Today Leifel Jackson walks the streets of Little Rock, a city he says is no stranger to violence.
Flashback to the 90s, Jackson was a gang leader in Little Rock. He says during that time, violence was at an all-time high.
“There was definitely shooting and murders every other day, sometimes twice a day,” said Jackson. “You get one of mine we got to get one of yours.”
Little Rock’s deadliest year was 1993, with 70 homicides.
In 2021, the city reported 65 homicides. This year, so far, the toll is 35.
Jackson says the city is facing a similar problem that’s evolved over the years.
“Even at the deadliest time in our city’s history, we had rules,” said Jackson.
Jackson says today, more children are killing and getting killed.
“If we can get the community back involved in helping their neighbors then we’re going to see systemic change,” said Robert Holt with Love, Let our Violence End.
Holt and Jackson have been working to curb violence for nearly 30 years. Both say the solution is in the blueprint.
“We’ve been here before,” said Jackson.
In the late 90’s Little Rock saw a drop in crime. Holt and Jackson say what we learned back then can be repurposed for today.
“We all came together and were speaking the same message of love and of hope,” said Holt.
Holt says love is lacking and until it can be brought back, violence will stick around.
“34 years I’ve been at this and that’s all I’ve ever asked is for people to love each other,” said Holt.