Thursday, March 21, 2013
The Palmetto Park/Robynwyn Civic Association is hosting a Stop the Violence rally in Wassamassaw Park Saturday.
The event, which will feature several guest speakers and area gospel choirs is one of a number of ongoing initiatives aimed at combatting violent crime in Summerville, particularly in the Robynwyn and Palmetto Park neighborhoods, said association president Louis Smith.
The association was formed in direct reaction to the murder of 35-year-old John Hancock, who was shot to death in his own driveway in the Robynwyn neighborhood in October of 2012, Smith said. Thus, one of the prime directives of the organization is to get active -- and very serious – about reducing violent crime in this area.
The group will also launch a petition to call for a referendum in the town to enact gun control ordinances, Smith said.
“We want to ban assault rifles and similar weapons and we believe the town should take such a stand,” Smith said.
In addition to Saturday’s rally, the association has planned and is in the process of implementing several major community outreach programs, Smith said.
Some of these initiative include working with the Summerville Police Department to establish a gun buy-back program, setting up tutoring and mentoring programs for youth, and establishing a chaplain program for victims of violent crime, Smith said.
Finally, the association understands that the community must be actively involved in crime prevention to make the crime rate go down and is encouraging citizens to step up and get involved, Smith said.
However, an important aspect getting citizens involved is keeping citizens informed, Smith noted. To that end, the association has been working to sign people up for the free text message service NIXLE, which instantly communicates real time updates from the police department via text message. It also provides a way for the community to inform the police of any criminal or suspicious activity, he said.
Another issue the association is interested in exploring is bringing public transportation services out to some of these neighborhoods, Smith said.
The Stop the Violence rally starts at 7 p.m. in Wassamassaw Park, off Hwy 78 in Summerville. The public is invited.