Community Gets Involved To Help Stop The Violence

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PANAMA CITY-- We're seeing more fall-out from the recent string of killings in Panama City.

Some parents say they won't let their kids outside to play, fearing for their safety.

But as Newschannel 7's Sanika Dange tells us, local police and a community organization are working to make the streets safer.

LEAD Coalition Chair Janice Lucas has going door to door several times over the past few weeks, asking parents and homeowners about their thoughts.

"One of the things that surprised me were the parents who said they don't let their children go outside and play, and that's not right. Our community deserves, our children in the community deserve, to be able to feel safe," Janice Lucas, LEAD Coalition Chair.

Now the organization is trying to empower its residents to feel safe walking out the door.

"We're still learning some of their needs. Part of that is breaking down that wall, getting them to contact us, to feel comfortable to contact us with information, providing them with outlets if they're scared to where they can do it anonymously," said Chief Scott Ervin, Panama City Police.

Like CrimeStoppers.
Ervin says the department has also increased police presence in certain areas.

"I can't discuss tactics and so forth so I'm not going to get into specific numbers cause you know in authorized strength in what we allocate, that has some tactical side to it so we don't talk about that but I can say that we have dedicated, we're going to keep those resources there."

Panama City Police are also helping CrimeStoppers organize a gun buyback program.

"If somebody's a convicted felon and they're standing in my presence, and they're committing a felony, we have a duty to act. And we can't circumvent that or get around that in law so that's why."

It's all part of an attempt to make the streets and neighborhoods safe for kids again.
in Panama City, Sanika Dange, Newschannel 7.

The next meeting has been scheduled for August 25th.
Gulf Coast State College is working on a long term proposal to make streets safer.