SPRINGFIELD Mass. (WWLP) – People living in Springfield’s Inner city neighborhoods have rallied together several times this summer to call for an end to violence in the city.
There have been 13 homicides in Springfield so far this year. There were 15 homicides in Springfield last year, 19 in 2013 and 12 in 2012.
Felix Pena told 22News, “Got to do something better with the violence here. Too much of it going, lot of kids out here, a lot of them get hurt, if not they join the gang or they wind up doing drugs. It’s a big problem here.”
Community members rallied Saturday night at Calhoun Park in the north end, to come up with proactive measures to try curbing the violence.
Springfield residents said just taking a walk through one of the city’s parks can be dangerous, and that’s why they will only come during certain times of day, especially with their kids. But they do believe that the community and the city are making improvements.
The Springfield Police Department launched its community policing initiative this year, hoping to encourage more businesses and residents to help identify issues and crime. As part of that they have also turned to social media for community outreach.
Many residents like Noel Martinez believe more needs to be done for the younger generations. “Got to get more programs for these kids so they can stay educated and stay focused” Martinez said, “More police in the area. Maybe something more for the kids to do. I mean they play basketball over here. But maybe with more police in sight maybe there will not be so much violence.”
Overall, the belief of those 22News spoke with is that the better relationship is between police and residents, the safer the community will be.