After a deadly weekend in Springfield, police and residents came together Wednesday night during a block party offering a safe place to have fun and enjoy a meal.
Antonio Moore, 23, was shot and killed, becoming the city’s 12th homicide victim this year. This matches all of 2017.
While this block party tonight was planned months in advance, it came at a time when people were hoping to do something good for the neighborhood.
“There is a lot of violence, you know, today and you need something else for the kids,” Springfield resident Ivan Powell said.
He has lived in the city for decades, and just moved to Johnny Lytle Avenue, the site of a Springfield police substation and the location of Wednesday's block party.
“When we moved here we were looking forward to this so we could sit on our porch and see all the kids,” Powell said.
More than 100 people in the neighborhood came out for the block party.
Events included face-painting and all types of picnic food from hot dogs to snow cones.
Sgt. Tom Selner works at the substation and knows most of the people who came to the block party.
“It’s good,” Selner said of the event. “We become neighbors with the neighbors in the neighborhoods.”
He said the connections police make can improve relations between residents and law enforcement.
With homicides happening at a higher rate compared to lat year, meeting people can help crack these cases.
“We can’t solve the crimes, we can’t do everything by ourselves. We have to do it with the community and it’s a way for the community to talk to us, reach out and tell us what they know and what they see out on the streets,” Selner said.
The city will have a public meeting next week to look into a gun buy back program to get guns off the streets in Springfield.