City-Wide Forum Addresses Recent Rash of Violence

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Community members looking to bring residents together after a recent rash of violence, held a city-wide prayer and discussion.

The Revival Center of Church of God in Christ opened it's doors to about 30 other pastors, teachers and city leaders on Monday.

The group realized it will take a village to create change within the community but says the discussion has to start somewhere.

Three people have been murdered at two different shootings in the metro within the last two weeks. Both cases remain unsolved.

At a forum on race and diversity on Friday, Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said it's unacceptable for murders to go unsolved when there are several witnesses.

"A grandmother was simply waiting for her grandchild to come out of the store and was caught by a stray bullet. That is absolutely unacceptable in Des Moines," he said. "Why are we not rallying for Barbara Perry? Why is that Family Dollar parking lot not full of people right now? Why is there not a public outcry for someone doing the right thing and coming forward with information?"

However, community members say speaking out about such cases are easier said than done. They say it's against a so - called "honor code" to give information and fear of retaliation is also a part of it.  When asked how to improve communication with police, several community members says authorities need to become more involved in minority neighborhoods.

Resident Gerald James, who attended the meeting said, "if a cop treats me like a brother and friend and then I will talk to him like a brother and friend."

Others agree, adding better relationships will lead towards strengthening trust and in return people will feel more comfortable coming to police with valuable information.

"There are people where the only time you see them is when they are wanting information on 'who did this' and 'who did that.' No one is going to support of cooperate with someone they don't regularly see," says Jarrae Lindsey of Des Moines.

The group is also calling for mentors and business owners to step up and help young adults get on the right path and into the workforce.