Helena-West Helena hosts town hall to help officials curb recent crime increase

Data pix.

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — Residents of Helena-West Helena took their safety concerns to city leaders following a week of shootings that left three men dead.

The city scheduled a town hall meeting Thursday to discuss solutions to fix those issues.

Residents said they are fed up with crime plaguing their city. That's why people met at Phillips Community College to lay those concerns on the table. The mayor, police chief and several other law enforcement officials joined in on the conversation.

Mayor Kevin Smith said even though the city did not put on the town hall event, he wants the community to know the city is listening, and they want everyone to feel safe.

"Accountability for crime has not been priority in this community, and we are facing the repercussions for that," Smith said.

Three young men are dead after a violent weekend in Helena-West Helena. Police said suspects for the murders are still at-large.

Police still haven’t confirmed whether or not the shootings are related or gang-related, as speculated by some residents.

City leaders said they have reached out to federal and state agencies for assistance.

"The federal and state government have responded extremely well," Smith said.

This isn't the first time city has received assistance from state agencies to fight crime. Mayor Smith said in March, there was an initiative to get criminals off the streets by targeting fugitive gang members.

The mayor said they’re now working to gather the resources they need to enforce the laws already on the books.

"If you are assertive in enforcing those laws, and you have the resources to back that enforcement up, that can quite effective in immediate halt to violent and dangerous crimes," Smith said.

These are just a few of the topics that were brought up Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Smith said the police chief will also put forward an executive order for a no-tolerance policy.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.