Benton Harbor leaders fed up with gun violence, announce plan to curb it
Benton Harbor, Mich. – City leaders, law enforcement and pastors had a message for the city and its residents on Tuesday, the violence is out of control.
Now, they want help people take their streets back from the offenders by implementing a new plan for the community.
Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad made it clear at Tuesday’s news conference that it's going to take everyone to stop these shootings. It's why city and community leaders have come up with a plan called “21 Days of Peace,” which involves tactics to make the everyone safer.
“We're asking 100 men on Saturday to meet us at the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church at 1 p.m. that we might be able to start the process of dealing with our young men and let them know that they're not out here alone,” Rev. Maurice McAfee, the Pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, says.
The plan calls for people to literally reclaim the streets just by being outside and being around one another. But at night, a curfew goes into effect. After 10 p.m., kids 15-and-under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, and after 11 p.m., that applies to kids 17-and-under.
Additionally, nine more Michigan State troopers will be stationed in the city and in neighboring Benton Township.
This all comes after a violent weekend.
On Saturday morning, a three-year-old girl was shot in the arm. Then, Sunday evening, a 27-year-old man was shot and killed at the Sunny Spot Convenience Store.
One activist, Perry Jackson, who served prison time for shooting and killing a man in Benton Harbor more than 25 years ago, pleaded with young men to put down the guns.
“I'm speaking to my community [and] my peers,” Jackson said. “I know it's not the 15 and 16-year old’s. We know what's going on. We know who the players are. We need to talk to them. I'm asking you to talk to them.”
Pastors and law enforcement remind everyone of the old adage, "if you see something, say something."
They want to end the wall of silence and anti-snitching mentality in the area.