SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield’s recent youth gang killings have motivated the clergy in the city’s high-crime neighborhoods into taking action.
The goal of the “Eyes on the Street” program is designed to replace the current “code of silence” with witnesses telling police what they know. Members of the Council of Churches of Greater Springfield intend to hammer away at their congregations every week to become the eyes on the street.
“There are people who are afraid to sit on their porches, people who are afraid to walk the streets of our community, and we find that’s not of value. To be the city that we know we can be, we’re looking to let folks know we’re not going to tolerate senseless violence and senseless killings anymore,” said Dr. Calvin McFadden, pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church.
Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon said the clergy in Washington, D.C. recruited more than 9,000 churchgoers for that city’s Eyes on the Street program. Baymon told 22News he’s confident that through repeated sermons, the clergy can overcome the code of silence.
“We’re not afraid of you. We’re not afraid to say we see what you do, and we’re not afraid to report it. And we’re not going to live in fear anymore,” Baymon said.
The Eyes on the Street program calls for witnesses agreeing to turn over video to police, and taking a greater interest in what’s happening in their neighborhood after dark.