JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – A recent shooting in the Fondren area of Jackson prompted residents to look for solutions to stop violent crime.
They are coming together in an effort to take back their neighborhood.
It was standing room only Tuesday night as residents and business owners met at Sneaky Beans Coffee Shop in the heart of Fondren to organize the West Fondren Neighborhood Association.
Break ins and recent violence caused Robert Mann, one of the meeting organizers, to describe the area as a war zone in a Facebook posting after a resident was shot last week.
"It's not exactly a war zone, but it is a zone of concern," said Mann.
The 53-year-old Jackson native brought police and concerned residents together.
"I moved away for 30 years. I just moved back nine months ago. My house was broken into twice and the second time a lot of the neighborhood people came in and said 'Hey we need to do something,'" said the professional event organizer, who previously lived in Tucson, Arizona.
This meeting came one week after a doctor was shot while walking home on nearby Northview and Dunbar Streets.
He told residents who found him bleeding in the middle of the street that he was shot by a man trying to take his wallet.
Jackson Police Department top brass, precinct four's commander, Hinds County District Attorney Robert Schuler Smith and Fondren organizations heard numerous residents tell of break ins, robberies, attacks and repeated gunfire in their community.
Many said crimes were being committed by people who live there and watch their homes and comings and goings.
"I think the fact that they are meeting in reaction to this particular incident is a good thing," said Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance.
He said for the past two years precinct four's Fondren area has had the city's lowest crime rate.
"We're very, very sensitive to the plight of our citizens in Fondren and every place else, but we don't think that this is any type of an indicator of a rise in a crime problem in Fondren," said Vance.
"The first week that I moved into Fondren, which was about six months ago, my house got broken into," said Domini Bradford.
The 43-year-old professional chef was among more than 50 people in attendance.
"I want to see if there's some way that I can do something by creating some kind of a community support system based on the Internet and our cell phones," said the Fondren resident.
Rapper and community activist Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin lives in Fondren and said he doesn't have a problem with residents and neighbors getting together but the problem is that the tone of the message sounds like fear mongering.
Franklin did not attend the meeting because he and his wife were headed to the hospital in anticipation of the arrival of their first child.
He said West Fondren area is a good neighborhood, and he would not have moved his family into an area if it were dangerous.
During the get together Jackson police offered safety and contact information and help with establishing a neighborhood organization.
"Binding the community together has got to make a difference somehow," added Bradford.
The next meeting will be held March 16th at 6 p.m. at the same location.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.