Springfield residents address violence on Union Street - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Springfield residents address violence on Union Street

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Rev. Talbert Swan called a meeting on Friday at his Spring of Hope church, looking to find a way to lessen the amount of violence on and around Union Street.

No cameras were allowed inside the church once the meeting began, but Swan was joined by city leaders and officials, looking to find the solution to the violence.

It is an area that has seen three murders in the last two years, including the city's most recent murder just over one month ago.

"Residents, business partners all [need to] figure out a way of how we can work together, so that those who are comfortable walking out in the winter or the middle of the afternoon committing a crime don't feel comfortable doing it," said Swan.

One business affected by the rise in violence is the YMCA Dunbar Community Center.

"The Dunbar is vested in the community," said Janice Watson, executive director of the facility. "We're here to make sure our young people and families are safe and protected."

The property is on the corner of Union and Oak Streets and was right across from a shooting that happened on Union this past Sunday night.

"The community has to come together," said Watson. "We have to work as a team, so there can't be a separation of police and neighborhood workers. They have to work together. Once we do that, the changes will begin."

Ronald Bridgers rehabs properties for the city of Springfield.

Bridgers said he already has several projects lined up on Union Street and he plans on employing area youths to get the jobs done.

"It stops them from running around and having nothing to do," said Bridgers. "I hope it drops the drug and crime rate. That's what we're looking to do. I think everybody here in Springfield wants the same thing."

Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet spoke at Friday's meeting.

He said the best thing the public can do is not be afraid and talk to police.

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