Crime prevention forum brings Anchorage locals and officials to talk about solutions
They're fed up with crime and drug abuse in their city.
That was the message from people at a town hall meeting Friday night at Greater Friendly Temple Church. Top law enforcement officials were there, too, to outline what they're doing to fight crime.
The Crime Prevention Town Hall Forum organizer, Cheryl Jones, is the godmother of Kendric Tyler, who was shot and paralyzed while protecting his wife during an armed robbery in Puerto Rico in April.
She says she is more motivated than ever because of that incident to take down crime in Anchorage.
"I'm more energized to stop the violence in our community because of that one incident. I was charged before... But now I'm super charged," Jones said.
According to the FBI Unified Crime Report, Alaska has the highest rate of violent crimes per capita of any state in the U.S.
Jones wants to join faith, community and experts together to put a stop to that statistic.
"We want to be able to help and extend our hand to the city, state and federal level, and letting them know that we are, the churches of God and Christ, are here to invade the territory to help them make a change in our community," Jones said.
As it turns out, that's just what the U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska, the Anchorage Chief of Police, Alaska District Courts, and the Anchorage Neighborhood Crime Watch say they need: public activism.
"The kind of problems that Anchorage is experiencing, I will tell you straight up we can't solve by ourselves,” Anchorage Chief of Police Justin Doll said. “The Police Department can't solve it in a vacuum just us alone. We need your help."
U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska Bryan Schroder said they are working to curb crime by focusing on the major threats, the criminals causing the majority of the problems.
“When I say we I mean a lot of people,” Schroder said. “It's APD, it's the Troopers, it's the federal agencies you hear about, the FBI, DEA, ATF. All of us working together."
The public is engaging more and more on issues of drug abuse and crime. To one who has walked in both worlds, coming together makes the difference.
"The church is saying 'we can't do it alone.' The law enforcement is saying 'we can't do it alone.' So this is a collective community," ex-drug dealer community activist Donteh Devoe said.