STUTTGART, Ark. (KTHV) Over the last few months, Stuttgart citizens say violent crime has increased throughout their community. From armed robberies to drug activity, residents say it all has to stop.
"There is no textbook out there to give us the answer to this problem. The answer to this problem is love," said Rev. Hezekiah Stewart of Moody Chapel AME Church in Little Rock.
Rev. Stewart spoke at the first "Stop the Violence" rally held at Holman Heritage Community Center in Stuttgart Saturday morning.
Several armed robberies and a deadly shooting in just two months time shook the small town Stuttgart. Now citizens are looking for solutions.
"We're trying to figure out where we are losing our young people," says Keon Wilson, a member of 5th Gear Riders.
5th Gear Riders is a motorcycle club committed to changing Stuttgart for the better. Wilson says poverty has led to drug activity and now to violence.
"It's a matter of money. When they robbing, they are trying as they say come up. When they are selling dope, they're trying to come up," says Wilson. "There is a lack of opportunity and a lack of direction and when there is a lack of direction, you have chaos."
Chaos citizens are now working to end, starting with this rally. City leaders, pastors as well as police officers also attended. They hope to organize events and outreaches in an effort to deter violent crime throughout their community.