LITTLE ROCK, Ark., (KTHV) - Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola responded on Monday to a string of murders in an inner-city neighborhood.
"We are deeply saddened by this needless gun violence. Our officers are out on the street working these neighborhoods to track down those responsible and, more importantly, to prevent these types of crimes from happening in our city. Suspects have been identified and they have either been arrested or warrants for their arrest have been issued.
We take the safety of our neighborhoods and our citizens very seriously. We've hired more than 90 additional officers with new tax money and more officers will be graduating in January. These officers are out on the streets, on patrol and undercover, and involved in the neighborhoods. We're investing nearly $6 million a year in prevention and intervention programs to stop the cycle of violence. We also appreciate the concern and hard work of so many individuals and organizations who are part of our neighborhood fabric. We need their help by calling LRPD with information at (501) 371-4636. Tips can be left anonymously," said Mayor Stodola in a statement issued to THV 11 News.
African-American leaders called for the city to respond, saying not enough resources were being used to address the problem.
"A few years back when a cat came up missing in the heights area, they put special forces to find that cat," said Community Activist Reverend Benny Johnson.
Lt. Sidney Allen with the Little Rock Police Department said officers deploy the same resources no matter the area.
Lt. Allen said people who live in the neighborhood of the recent shootings are not talking, which he said makes it hard for investigators to establish a motive.
"It's a two prong thing and I don't think it's fair to say law enforcement is the reason this is happening," said Leifel Jackson, a former gang leader. Jackson now heads up R.O.C.O.N, an organization which helps inner-city youths stay on the right path.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @dan_wilkerson.