COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Residents of one Columbus district are working together to create a safer and more connected neighborhood. Leaders of MidTown Inc. say the rise in violence is the reason for their new initiative.

Feb. 19, 2023, shots rang out at Lakebottom Park in broad daylight as Peach Little League baseball practice was underway.

“We had some unfortunate incidents, just with the surge of crime, all around Greater Columbus, but also here in the MidTown area,” Executive Director of MidTown Inc. Julio Portillo said. “That really prompted us to just kick start the program and get it out there to the community quicker.”

While no one was injured, residents of the six-mile radius MidTown area have been concerned for their safety. Now MidTown Inc. is working on connecting the 24 different neighborhoods that make up MidTown to cut back crime.

“We know that an organized neighborhood is safer and better, and that’s really what this does. It just connects those people and brings everybody together,” Co-Chair of MidTown Neighborhood Alliance Pete Berry said. “Crime is a hot topic right now, but there are many ways that you can that you can improve the safety in your neighborhood. A lot of that is beautification, it’s knowing your neighbors, it’s watching out for one another.”

To bring these neighborhoods together, MidTown Inc. recently rolled out their MidTown Neighborhood Alliance—a multifaceted initiative to inform and connect neighbors. The first step is reactivating Neighborhood Watch Groups. Then, MidTown Inc. will facilitate an organized partnership between the new initiative and the City of Columbus’ citizen-centered departments.

“We will also schedule meetings with those individuals that are in the neighborhoods and bring in public services like even CPD [Columbus Police Department], Public Works, 311 and those different entities that are in the city that can tell them and even bring statistics about their own neighborhoods,” MidTown Neighborhood Alliance Co-chair Judy Tucker said.

Their end goal goes beyond cutting back crime. Through beautification projects and events, their goal is to create a stronger more connected MidTown amongst every neighborhood.

While this new initiative is in its early phases, the MidTown Neighborhood Alliance plans to hold their first meeting with existing neighborhood watch groups on May 10th.

Anyone seeking additional information should contact Midtown Inc. or visit their website.