Highland Park residents take back their neighborhood
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
The residents of Highland Park tell Channel 3, enough is enough, and they are going to continue to "walk the talk" until their neighborhood is back under control.
These residents don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk with a message that's loud and clear.
“It's basically ‘hey we are the neighbors this is our neighborhood," said Olga Deklien.
Many living in the Highland Park community say they're tired of the violence flooding their streets and want it to stop.
"We just can't continue to let this thing spiral out of control," said Deanna Newcomb.
Newcomb says she's lived in the neighborhood for nearly a decade and says living just houses down from where shootings have taken place keeps her on edge.
"I work from home and I'm on constant vigilance all day about what's happening around me," said Newcomb. "People shouldn't be afraid to leave their homes or go away and be afraid their home is going to be broken into."
Mayor Andy Berke says despite last week’s spike in violence, the number of shootings are still nearly 20 percent lower than last year and he's hopeful the community involvement will help bring that number down even more.
"Our streets cannot suffer from this violence anymore and I think it's great the citizens of Highland Park are taking it upon themselves to take action," said Mayor Berke.
He along with Police Chief Fred Fletcher is standing up with the residents to bring the violence to a stop.
"I think that last week was a tragic week that was difficult for the community and the victims and their families and for the police department who took an oath to protect them, so it offends us when we're not able to protect the community and we take it very personally the Mayor takes it very personally and I take it very personally," said Chief Fletcher.
DeKlein says they'll do whatever they have to, to reclaim what is rightfully theirs; a safe community.
"We all need to do something and we all need to work together because just 1 person or one department cannot do it," said DeKlein. "We're not going to give up, this is our neighborhood and we're not going to let anything deter it. We're not going to move, we're going to stay here."
They do plan to continue to have these walks to bring a constant reminder to all that they're still there and they're not afraid.