LONGVIEW (KYTX) - A shooting incident in Longview over the weekend underscores a problem that Longview residents and city officials are all too familiar with. Despite the continuing challenges of crime, there are lots of residents willing to fight stereotypes and work for change.
Rolyn May and his wife moved from Houston to Longview about three months ago.
"It's not the greatest neighborhood, but people seem like they're nice people," May said.
Once May started getting to know people, he noticed a common reaction when bringing up where he lives.
"A lot of people have said, 'Are you in south Longview?' And I'm like, 'Yeah,'" May said. "They're usually like, 'You should move north.'"
North or south, Longview has seen a spike in crime this year, with a record-high 12 homicides just this year. This past Friday, May was out of town when an officer found two shot victims across the street from May's house on Melton Street.
"I've heard some gunshots and some things," May said. "It's not surprising, but it's just kind of like, 'Wow.' Right down the street."
The Longview Police Department is aware of the jarring statistics and has shown a recent effort to fight the problem.
"Just show the drug dealers, show all the people that are doing stuff they're not supposed to be doing that we're not going to have that here in our neighborhood," Longview Police Information Officer Kristie Brian said. "We're taking our neighborhood back."
Kasha Williams of the Longview City Council supports these efforts.
"We are here to ensure public safety, so that is something that we're committed to seeing through," Williams said.
She also said this process needs full involvement from the people of this city.
"People are more likely to support what they help to create," Williams said. "That's why it's so important that we continue to engage the citizens as we move forward."
May is fairly new to Longview, but he is all for more involvement.
"If the community and neighbors can get closer and get to know one another and each other's families, I think that would be a big step," May said.
Even with the continued violence and crime, the city is taking noticeable action. In August, the city started to discuss rezoning certain parts of the citySpeaking of South Longviewheavily involved with the National Night Out held across all of Texas.
Many positive steps are trying to be made, but as is the case with most serious issues, for this to be fixed or at least alleviated, the process will take some time.