Batesville Neighbors Take Back Neighborhood From Gangs
(Batesville, MS) Back in January, a rash of gang violence had people in West Batesville, MS running for cover.
Police and community leaders took quick action, and now, people here say they can walk the streets again.
”It was bad, it was real bad. It was just awful,” said Dorothy Ballard of West Batesville.
It prompted Billy Brown and others to form a community group called “Let’s Talk it Out” to start a conversation between neighbors and police.
Brown said the goal was building trust and support in rooting out gangs that seemed to have moved in from out-of-town, ”I think, for the most part, they have been imported from somewhere else.” “And your job now?” “My job is to prevent it, to make sure people are aware of what’s going on and also give the kids an alternative to better themselves.”
Brown’s group organized things like school supply giveaways to get the message out that neighbors had to take charge and help police.
”The people here don’t want gangs in here. They’re starting to work with us more. If we can get rid of ‘em, we will. It may not solve all our problems but we’re gonna do what we can do” said Police Chief Tony Jones.
The Chief and Sheriff both agree it’s working, and more important, so does Dorothy Ballard, ”In this area where we live, we didn’t want it to be happening. We took it seriously and told the police what we knew.”
Mr. Brown from “Let’s Talk it Out” believes constant pressure on the gangs should keep them out of sight while his group works on giving young people more productive things to do.