UPDATE: Weekend crime spike leaves residents concerned - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Weekend crime spike leaves residents concerned

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
UPDATE: A recent string of shootings have residents in Chattanooga on edge.  
 
One of them happened on Standifer Gap Road, another on Jasmine Street, and a third on South Orchard Knob Avenue, all within a 48 hour period.  

The latest happened around 2:40 Monday morning when a 19-year-old was shot in his back yard on East 14th Street.  

Chattanooga police say they aren't sure what's caused the recent spike in activity.

But hope the Violence Reduction Initiative helps them stomp it out.

Police say hope VRI will help after violent weekend. City still searching for agency to help them take on the mayor's crime-fighting program.

"It's just pathetic we still have people here, in our society who care very little about human life," said Moses Freeman, City Councilman

City councilman Moses Freeman is talking about the violent weekend in Chattanooga.

Four shootings in 48 hours, two of them in his district. 

While investigators work the cases, police and city leaders are still putting their hopes in the VRI.

"If you're trying to change your life around, you need a good support system," said Freeman.  

And that's what the city is looking for. Case management social services. Resources like finding a job or going back to school.

"Whatever services they need from our community, we need someone to manage their cases," said Freeman.  

The city was set to work with the non-profit "a better tomorrow"..Under a $300,000 contract..

Until its founder was arrested a couple weeks ago.

Now the city has four organizations to choose from.

"Hope for the inner city" bid $270,000.

Tennessee Community Counseling Services bid $264,000.

Impact 1 $138,000.

And Altruistic ADR Services $300,000.

"Paul Smith will pick the best one he can find among the people who applied," said Freeman.

Smith, the public safety coordinator, is also working on making sure the city doesn't lose a $300,000 federal grant..

Awarded last year to help crack down on crime.The grant's scope must be changed. Since it didn't line up with the VRI.

"We're gonna try to make it more specific to VRI, when i say more specific instead of targeting neighborhoods, we're targeting issues instead of neighborhoods," said Paul Smith, Public Safety Coordinator.

That goes with the new chief's main goal, who's officially on the job.

"Making public safety a priority, as embodied by the violence reduction initiative," said Chattanooga Police Chief Fletcher.  
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Chattanooga Police are still looking for suspects involved in three separate shootings across Chattanooga that are keeping residents on their toes.

"This is normally a safe area," said David Long.

David Long says he lives on Standifer Gap, just across the street from the scene of a shooting that took place on Friday night.

"It's kind of worrisome, scares you," said Long.
 
Three shootings across Chattanooga in just 48 hours kept police on their toes over the weekend.

"They can't catch us off guard because we never know what's going to happen day to day and we try to be ready for any type of situation," said Sgt. Wayne Jefferson.

While the warmer temperatures have brought out many to enjoy the nice weather, Jefferson says it has no effect on the crime rate.

"I believe when someone has it in their mindset when people are going to do wrong, they're going to do wrong regardless of temp or other conditions," said Jefferson.

He says they don't know what's caused the recent spike in activity but hope the violence reduction initiative helps them stomp it out.

"It's a work in progress and we have been able to contact people in the area and they want their city back," said Jefferson.
     
Long says the recent activity is making him more alert.

"I'll be more aware of my surroundings,” said Long. "It's gonna make you be more cautious about people that you may not recognize if things look out of place, it will make you think twice."

Sgt. Jefferson says that's not a bad idea. "People should always be aware of their surroundings. I don't care if you're in the familiar area of your own neighborhood, you need to be aware,” said Jefferson.

So far no arrests have been made in any of the shootings.

Police are still investigating.
     

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