Gulfport residents and police chief talk about violence in the city

Gulfport residents and police chief talk about violence in the city

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The first month of 2015 has been a violent one for Gulfport. There have been six shootings, and two of those victims died.

"Made me think they are going crazy," Gulfport resident Florine Palmer said.

"Oh, yes. Lord, it makes me nervous, so nervous," said resident Eddie Gatlin.

Chief of Police Leonard Papania said he does not want the community to be scared. Instead, he wants everyone to be aware.

"We live in a world we need to be aware," Papania said. "We don't need to move about in a scared fashion. If you are coming and going to work, leading a good life, the odds of you being victimized is not near what people think."

Of the six shootings in January, police said two were domestic related and three happened while the victim and the suspect were engaged in some sort of crime.

Papania said his officers are on patrol all hours of the day and night.

"Our patrolmen are engaged in our community out there, and that communication between our officers that work in your neighborhood, it is so vital in solving crimes," Papania said. "I can't tell you the amount of information we get in those relationships that have ultimately lead to the success we have met."

When asked what can be done to stop the violence, most of those we talked to did not say more police.

"There are some things we can do about it, and I think it's more our families and churches can do than anything else," Gulfport resident Rodrick Carter said. "I think people should believe in God more, love each other more and trust each other more."

"If we start praying, it will seem like this whole town will be better," Gatlin said.

Police have solved all six of the 2015 shootings.

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