DeKALB – Local community leaders on Wednesday will host a meeting to address crime and the increased number of shootings in the Annie Glidden North neighborhood.
In an Aug. 26 New Hope Missionary Baptist Church social media post, meeting organizers wrote the public safety meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the church, 1201 Twombly Road in DeKalb.
“Let’s come together and strategize on how to make our community safe,” the post states.
DeKalb Police Chief David Byrd, Northern Illinois University Police Chief Darren Mitchell and other local community leaders are expected to be in attendance, according to the post. Meeting organizers wrote masks “will be required and social distancing will be observed where possible.”
Rev. Joe Mitchell, head pastor for New Hope, said Thursday he previously met with the two newer police chiefs in the DeKalb community regarding the recent “uptick of violence.”
“We realized a multi-tiered approach was necessary,” Mitchell said. “And this is the first step.”
Mitchell said the meeting will allow the two police chiefs to introduce themselves to the community and explain their philosophies in policing. However, he said there are “a lot of keyboard commandos” in the community who criticize the city’s crime issues but they “won’t do the work” to help make the community a safer place to live.
“We hope they will get a better understanding as everyday citizens on how they can do their part,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said it’s important to “look at the root” of concentrated violence, whether it be housing, unemployment, access to jobs with a living wage and food insecurity.
“All of those things need to be analyzed,” Mitchell said.
For example, Mitchell said, elected officials and other community leaders can and should figure out how to make sure warehouse jobs with a living wage on the city’s south side will go to “people who need it the most.” He said next steps in the plan to address the increased crime issues include keeping the community conversations going and “to do our part and take action to make the community better for everyone.”
“This has to be a collaboration,” Mitchell said. " ... We all live here.”