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Residents Hold Prayer Vigil to Put a Stop to Crime

By Natalie Potts
By npotts@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. - Neighbors in one East Jackson neighborhood gathered with city leaders to raise their voices against violence, Saturday.

Residents in Woodland Hills Oak Subdivision told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that the level of crime has risen in their neighborhood over the past year.

"Some nights you are really scared to lay down. You hear noises and are scared to lay down and go to sleep at night," said resident Ruth Sims.

Onnie McCarty, whose home has been broken into twice within the past year, said residents there are being consistently victimized by criminals.

"Some people have been broken into 2 or 3 times," said McCarty. "We've had a lot of people getting shot in the neighborhood."

Neighbors said they are still frightened after Jackson's 13th homicide victim, Devon Staten, was murdered back in November. Police said Staten was shot and killed protecting his girlfriend from a gunman who was attempting to rob them outside of their home on Lealand Avenue.

"We want to be able to sit on our porch and want to be able for our kids to play in the yard without having to duck for a bullet or something," said resident TJ Dalckwell.

Concerned citizens said they will work with police to take back their neighborhood, having more neighborhood watch meetings, reminding residents to keep a watchful eye on their neighbors.

"I'm hoping that we as the people can come together totally and do away with this word crime period," said resident Byus Wofford III.

Jackson City Mayor Jerry Gist attended the community prayer vigil. He praised residents' efforts in coming together with local law enforcement and building community relationships.