COLUMBUS Ga. – For some in the community, summer signals an increase in violence. In an effort to stop the violence, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson held a prayer rally for peace today.
LGBT community activist David Smith believes that open access to guns and drugs is aiding the violence in Columbus.
“There are so many guns and you have such easy access to guns. Toppled with that you have the fact that methamphetamine abuse is going up and prescription drug abuse is going up. So those two very dangerous factors meet together and it’s a very troubling mix,” said Smith.
Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says when crime began to spike three years ago… She knew it was time to take a stand.
“In 2013 where we had a series of events that were just unacceptable and the truth is in the summer time for some reason that’s when people take a lot of risks and that’s when they begin to disrespect themselves and other people. Sometimes it ends up in violence,” said Tomlinson.
Reverend John Flakes III says faith can help bring the community together in times of need.
“It allows us to really visually demonstrate our faith and our belief in God through Jesus Christ, but we also believe in prayer and our communication that we have with God,” said Flakes.
Stefan Lawrence, a key note speaker, says keeping kids occupied will help keep them out of trouble.
“If they’re working they really don’t have time to be destructive. That’s why I encourage my kids to do sports, academics, and extra-curricular activities. Whatever it is to keep you out of trouble,” said Lawrence.
The Mayor believes the event was a success. Many attendees said it was great to come together as a community regardless of their race or religion.