SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Young people in the community banded together Monday to speak out against crime in Shreveport.

An activist group made their voices heard at Monday’s City Council meeting. At the same time, the police chief offered a new crime-fighting tool that had just gone active.

“The youths of Shreveport are sick of seeing our peers getting murdered in the city we call home,” said The People’s Promise Youth Division’s Kyrsten Thompson.

Members of The People’s Promise Youth Division took their frustrations and fears over safety in the city to public leaders.

“The simple fact is that too many children die from stray bullets while just sitting in their homes simply because they live in Shreveport,” said People’s Promise Youth Division Chair Autumn Sommers.

They demanded answers about how the violence has increased from council members.

“Why is it so easy to shoot up a street in Shreveport? Why is it so easy to carry a gun anywhere? Why are there so little regulations when so many people are dying,” Sommers said.

They told the council that kids are afraid to walk the streets even during the day.

“Make the streets safe for the people. I’m scared, and I have a sister. She’s scared to walk in the streets of Shreveport,” said one member.
The council listened intently. Councilman John Nickelson of District C thanked them and asked them to convey their message to Baton Rouge lawmakers because the Louisiana state legislature passed a law several years ago that prohibits municipalities and parish governments from enacting gun legislation.

“The elected officials who have the power to impose reasonable restrictions on firearms are state legislators,” Nickelson said.

Chief Wayne Smith did offer some hope with the reactivation of the Community Response Unit. It’s a group of six to seven officers responding to hot crime spots immediately.

“We feel confident that you will see a difference in your neighborhood, and Shreveport will see a difference in reduction in crime,” Chief Smith said.

Smith said the Community Response Unit is officially online. Due to staffing issues, it took a long time to become a reality again. The unit has seven vehicles in operation, but Smith asked the council for additional funding for new unit vehicles so they can put those seven vehicles back into patrol. Council Grayson Boucher asked Smith to request whatever he needs, and he’ll work to get it approved by the council.