Neighbors Fed Up In Alexandria - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Neighbors Fed Up In Alexandria

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ALEXANDRIA, La. -- Alexandria has had seven homicides so far this year. Last year, they had one.

Several of those deaths have taken place in one neighborhood.

News Channel Five's Brooke Buford went to 14th Street where two days ago, a man was shot and killed. She talked to neighbors about the homicides in their neighborhoods.

Reverend James Hardison has lived on the corner of Park Avenue and 14th Street in Alexandria for more than 30 years. And, he says there's no place he'd rather call home.

"I love the people," he said. "People are friendly."

He says in those 30 years, he's seen many changes in his neighborhood - including an increase in crime. On Sunday, two doors down from his house, a young man was shot to death.

"Senseless. Very senseless," he said. "A boy has not yet learned how to live or what to live for. Hasn't prepared for the future. In the wrong place at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing with the wrong people."

But sadly, this crime isn't the only one that ended in death. In January a woman was killed on the front porch of her home. In March, a man was murdered by his own grandson.

In fact, according to the Alexandria Police Department, there have been seven homicides in the city this year.  That's compared to one last year. Nearly half of those, were within three blocks of Hardison's home.

"I think our officers are doing an outstanding job," he said of the police presence. "They are visible. There are a lot of children in this area and they see what's going on and if they're not careful, some of that stuff will take up residence in that child's life."

Hardison, like many of his neighbors, wants something done so he joined the neighborhood watch to find ways to try to fight the violence and help keep his community safe.

"It depends 100% on neighbors standing up and helping each other and doing what you know is right," said Winnie Marshall, president of the group. "You have to be concerned about your neighbor. Do what you can as a citizen to secure your home and help your neighbor secure their home."

The group has reached out to their city councilman, who says although the violence isn't as great as in larger cities.  But, one life taken, is still too many.

"It's causing a lot of turmoil," said Councilman Ed Larvadain. "I'm asking the young men to stop the violence. Learn how to resolve your issues. Put the guns down. Parents if you see misunderstandings, please call the authorities."

Hardison says he hopes that he sees the day when senseless acts of violence stop on his streets. And, he says, that's because that's what he has left - hope - that things here will change.

"I serve a God who can do anything but fail," he said. "And, I believe that there's always hope."

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