Mount Vernon community leaders meet to curb violence

By Heartland News

MOUNT VERNON, IL (KFVS) - Community members in Mount Vernon met Monday evening to discuss how to put a stop to violence in the town.

"Due to the surge in violence that has plagued our city and most recently the shooting death of 15-year-old Deon Feggins, Mount Vernon has been catapulted into action regarding violence and other issues facing our community," said Michael Blakemore one of the co-organizers of the town hall meeting.

More than 50 residents sat and listened closely as the panel spelled out how they plan to take back their city from criminals.

And the Mount Vernon mayor challenged everyone to get involved.

"We have experienced a problem with some serious crimes, the latest the tragic shooting of a 15-year-old. It is time for us to stand together as a community, listen to each other and make our community a safer place to live," said Mayor Mary Jane Chesley.

Leaders from churches and the community tossed around ideas to help make Mount Vernon a safer place.

Some of the ideas include creating a youth leadership group and writing a grant to get funds for a community center in the troubled neighborhood to give kids something to do.

Church leaders also talked about developing youth programs for ages 17 to 25.

And Mount Vernon's Chief of Police Chris Mendenall promised the residents who gathered at  the Roland Lewis building that the streets will be patrolled.

"We have already stepped up our patrols in squad cars. And we will be adding officers patrolling on bicycles this week," Chief Mendenall said.

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