GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulfport residents are putting criminals on notice that they're ready to take back their streets. The anti-violence walk on Saturday in Gaston Point followed on the heels of a similar march earlier this year in Forest Heights. Participants said the problems of crime and violence aren't limited to one neighborhood.
One step at a time and one street at a time is how Gaston Point residents plan make their neighborhood a safer community to live in.
"We just want to spread the message that we want to take our streets back," said Kewanna Riley, of the Community Edification Coalition. "So that our children can have a safe place to go outside and play and not have to be worry about being hit by a stray bullet or crime in the community."
People said they're fed up with burglaries, drug dealing and shootings. They said since many of the perpetrators don't live in the area, they believe the problem is much bigger than Gaston Point. So they've launched a campaign against crime that will span the entire city.
"Make them aware that the citizens in the community of Gaston Point and of the other communities of Gulfport is tired of crime and violence," said Gulfport Council Member Truck Casey.
Participants also wanted to encourage law abiding citizens not to turn a blind eye to illegal activities.
"When you see something going on that may be wrong or some type of criminal activity, go ahead and call the police. That's the best thing to do," said Casey. "It's best that you call them to prevent the crime that's in the process of occurring."
Several youth organizations joined in on the march. The young people had a message for any of their peers headed down the wrong road.
Imani Lombard is a member of the Kappa league.
"It's never too late. I mean we're still young, so no matter what kind of path you're going down, it's never too late to turn around and come out here and do positive things," Lombard said.
Gulfport Wards One and Three and the Community Edification Coalition organized the march. Organizers say they're planning another march in October but haven't decided where.