LUMBERTON, NC – For months, the City of Lumberton has been dealing with a great deal of violent crimes, and now community members and city leaders are gathering together to come up with ways to make that change.
Tuesday night, a meeting was held at W.H. Knuckles Elementary in Lumberton, and nearly one hundred people showed up to see what Councilman John Cantey had to say about decreasing crime around Lumberton.
When the meeting began, each community member received a booklet of local crime statistics.
The thirty-six page booklet gave a detailed account of all of the crimes that have happened around the area.
It was written by a group called Citizens4 Change, and the spokesperson, Chris Howard, says that change is long overdue.
“Everything is not perfect, more work needs to be done. However, for our children, where this site is, they can rest assured they can come to school without shots being fired right in the grounds,” says Howard.
Councilman Cantey says through his research with the Citizens4 Change group, he’s found most of the crimes happen in the housing districts.
Cantey reached out to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for help with the problem.
The agency responded with the statement: “It’s a local problem, and your city, your law enforcement, and Lumberton Housing Authority will have to work it out on your own.”
“I can’t accept that. As a representative of this city, and as a representative of the people here, I cannot accept that,” said Cantey.
For members of the community like Hazel Kennedy, the crime is a problem she refuses to deal with on her own.
She lost her grandson two weeks ago to gun violence in the area, and she says that’s why she attended the meeting.
“It’s just awful, awful. I know you can’t stop everything, but you can try to see what’s going on with your child,” said Kennedy.
Being mindful of the children around Lumberton was one of the meeting’s main points.
Cantey says other possible solutions would be to sue the housing developments like Fayetteville did last year, or to propose a tax increase to get more police officers on the streets.
After the meeting, community members were asked to write down suggestions they have to help stop the violence.
City leaders say they plan to review each of those ideas to come up with a solution.