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Citizens share concerns of crimes in Goodyear community with law enforcement

Members of Picayune’s Goodyear Community met with city officials Sunday to discuss how to address issues of crime in the area.

Picayune City Manager Jim Luke, Police Chief Freddy Drennan, Assistant Chief James Bolton, and City Council members Lynn Bumpers and Larry Breland were present to listen to concerns from residents.

Residents discussed incidents where their homes or vehicles had been shot at. Joi Lott said someone shot into her home recently while she was taking a shower.

“When it happened bullets were the last thing on my mind. I heard the noise. I’m taking a shower and it hit my tub. Had it been a little higher my sister would have found me, probably days later,” she said.

Lott said that she had not heard back about the report she filed regarding the bullets in her home. Bolton spoke with her and said he would get her an update the next morning. Drennan said that in major cases, like a home being shot into, residents should receive updates on how the case is progressing.

Jerry Loftin said he has experienced intimidation after trying to talk with the people causing trouble.

“How are you going to protect yourself when they come try to get you? I’m too old and my wind is too short to fight, so what are you supposed to do?”

Abasi Bolden said he believes if there had been shootings around elderly white people changes would have taken place already.

“My kids, ever since the shooting, every time a car passes by the house and lights come by the blinds or something, everybody ducks. We ain’t living like that,” he said.

One resident suggested the community start a sports team to give young people something to do, while another neighbor reminded the crowd that there is still a neighborhood watch.

“We as men in our neighborhood need to come together and make sure we hold those accountable, to make sure our parents and our grandparents won’t be scared,” said Craig Magee, a sentiment many of the other speakers repeated.

Magee said the issues the community is dealing with are not new.

“We act like these children now are so much worse than we were growing up. They’re not. We’ve had people dying in the streets back in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s. We’ve had drugs. We’ve had all these things in our neighborhood,” said Magee.

Van Bolden contested the idea that the problems are not new, saying that in years past young people would not have intimidated elders in the community.

Councilwoman Lynn Bumpers said she is very grateful that no one’s child was shot and killed in the recent incidents. One of Bumpers’ sons was murdered in 2013.

“I thank God, Van, that you didn’t have the call that I had, because it’s painful,” Bumpers told Bolden, whose son Abasi was shot at recently in an incident where no one was injured and one man was arrested. “Nobody wants to lose a child to a gunshot wound.”

Bumpers said that she believes drugs are part of the problem, and emphasized the need to talk to young people.

“Tell the children your story. Go to them. Embrace them. Half of them want you to say something to them,” she said.

Bumpers said that community members need to be willing to call the police on their own children when necessary, but also emphasized the need for love and forgiveness.

Drennan and Bolton also addressed questions about how the police department determines what someone should be charged with when a crime occurs.

In response to a question on what kind of information citizens should provide if someone shoots at their house, Drennan said the reports need to include any and all information possible.

“Anything that you can furnish to us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, the least little tidbit of information can help us tie a case together,” he said.

He suggested using cellphone cameras to record incidents or capture photos if an incident occurs.

“With your help we will end the problem here in this community,” said Drennan. “I can’t do it by myself. You can’t do it by yourself. But working together we will.”

Bolden, one of the meeting’s organizers, said he believes the meeting was a good first step. He hopes to have more meetings with members of the community to work toward stopping the incidents.

“I think today was wonderful and it’s something that needs to be done,” said Lott. “It won’t be our last time.”