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Martin Park and Airview Terrace residents speak out on Alexandria crime issues

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Residents from the Martin Park and Airview Terrace communities sat down with local law enforcement to express their concerns on the recent rise in gun violence.

The City of Alexandria has reported 15 fatal shootings in 2021 so far and locals are trying to find more ways that they can help prevent it.

Rebecca Marien has lived in Alexandria for 47 years and says in the last few years, the crime rate has gotten significantly worse in her neighborhood.

“It’s just not what it used to be and we need to get a hold of this crime and get it stopped,” said Marien. “You don’t feel safe at all. You never know if a gunshot is going to come through your window or not.”

Those at the meeting expressed that they want to see more police patrol in the high-crime areas. Interim APD Police Chief Ronney Howard said they recently started a crime suppression team with the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office to try to drive down the crime rates.

“Since that unit has been established we have made several arrests and seized a lot of dope off the street. The community should see an increased presence of that unit in the near future,” said Interim Chief Howard.

This meeting comes a day after the Alexandria City Council fought to allocate more money to the police department for the upcoming budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

District 4 Councilwoman Catherine Davidson said pay raises would help fill the open positions and keep officers in Alexandria.

“I found other areas that were presented in the budget that we could move the funds out of and put them in for raises. That doesn’t eliminate the problem that we are down 41 officers though. We need to give them raises and get some people back so we can start filling those 41 positions,” said Davidson.

The council will have another special committee meeting on April 13 to try to finalize the budget. The budget has to be completed and approved by April 27 or it will revert back to the current budget.

Residents are hoping that more patrol and more neighborhood watch groups will slow down the rise in violence in the communities.

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