GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Just days after a bullets flew into vehicles and homes in North Gulfport, the community and law enforcement are coming together to try to put an end to the violence.
Community member gathered Thursday night, searching for answers and trying to find ways to make Gulfport safer in the weeks ahead. Frustration was evident at the community meeting.
”Just because we stay in North Gulfport, it doesn’t mean that we are thugs,” one resident said.
Guns remain an issue in the community. Monday’s shooting left several vehicles damaged and many in fear for their lives.
”When I tell you that it was so many bullets, we were so afraid to walk outside because I did not know if they was going to have so many bodies,” said another resident.
Monday’s incident has several in the community asking for more from the Gulfport Police Department.
”We do need more police presence. Whoever is our patrol officer needs to come through more, make yourself known, introduce yourselves to some of these youngsters... Let them know what programs are out there,” said another resident.
Gulfport Police Chief Chris Ryle stressed that the department hasn’t forgotten about the community.
”Since January 1st, we have had 18 calls for service in your neighborhood from South Carolina to Polk. We have done 84 extra patrols. While that may not seem like a lot to you, that is about one a day, and I promise you that is a whole lot more than most streets get in this city.”
He also promised that the department will increase the police presence in the area, but also asked the community to step up.
”Eighteen calls for service and we are having all these problems,” said Ryle. I have only been called 18 times this year. It is not just the police department, it is us. We need you to call us and let us know what is going on.”
The idea of establishing a neighborhood watch was discussed at the meeting and the department is looking forward to restarting their youth programs as the pandemic comes to an end.