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Gulfport church creates neighborhood watch in wake of recent violence

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 6:50 AM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - After a wave of recent violence over the last few weeks, a church in the Soria City community of Gulfport is taking action.

Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church has created a neighborhood watch program to help patrol the streets in an effort to curb crime.

“If you come and engage in criminal activity in these communities, that the community will rise up against you,” said Pastor John Whitfield

Last week, residents and community leaders gathered for a Stop the Violence Summit to discuss ways to put an end to the violence. The area has been rocked with a handful of crimes over the last few weeks that have left multiple teens and young adults killed or injured.

Whitfield wants the community to take more responsibility and help inform law enforcement of any illegal activity, making them an active part of the solution.

“I believe a neighborhood watch would be beneficial in Soria City, as well as other communities, because it encourages individuals to get involved in their community,” said the pastor. “It empowers individuals to be able to make change in their community and also it brings about a sense of camaraderie.”

Over the next month, the church will work diligently to spread the word about the neighborhood watch meeting that is happening in a few weeks on June 3.

“This Sunday, we will begin putting notices out,” explained Whitfield. “We will use social media to notify people of the meeting and how they can register to participate in the meeting. We have already started talking with individuals who live in the community about it. We want to make sure the community has ample notice about this meeting.”

Whitfield stressed that this won’t solve all the problems, but it is a step in the right direction.

In addition to the June 3 neighborhood watch meeting, another Stop the Violence rally will be held on May 15 at the Isiah Fredricks Community Center in North Gulfport.

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