Police and residents call on community after eight homicides reported in Valdosta this year

By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 4, 2017

Courtesy: Valdosta Today

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) – Flashing blue lights and crime tape at a home is a scene no resident wants to see.

“All this horrible killing, shooting, and robbing needs to stop,” says Glen Bridges, with Citizens Against Violence.

The Valdosta Police Department says they’ve seen eight homicides so far this year. Last year, they also worked a total of eight murders.

“Why is this happening and when will it stop?” asks Bridges.

“These times, my kids don’t go outside unless I’m out there where I can watch them and see what’s going on. It shouldn’t be like that,” says Tameka Hazzard.

She’s been working with youth in Citizens Against Violence for the last two years.

VPD says a majority of the cases this year were drug-related. Police are calling the rise in crime a community issue.

“Right now, our community is in a crisis,” says Bridges.

Neighborhood anti-violence groups, like the Soul Patrol, have formed in response to the killings.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” says Jewel Crowder, Captain of the Soul Patrol. “The number of people killing each other and the young people that just began to live.”

Valdosta residents are now trying to be the change.

“If everybody just did a little bit of what they can maybe we would see just a little bit of change, which is better than nothing,” says Hazzard.

A small community on a big mission. They’re seeking change by taking back their streets and reaching out to local youth.

VPD says the department is on its way to clearing half of the year’s homicides.

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