Baker residents tackle concerns over crime
BAKER, La (NBC33) — Peron McCastle likes to walk through his neighborhood before dawn, but lately, he has changed his routine.
"I woke up to go walking, and then I thought, 'there was a murder.' And I didn't go walking," he says.
He's not the only one making adjustments. "I used to be able to take out my garbage in the morning, pick up a newspaper without looking over my shoulder," says Aletha Spruel. "I used to be able to sleep with my windows open. Not anymore."
All over Baker, residents are worried, and that's because in the last 60 days, their community has seen two murders. "I can't remember there being two murders in Baker in the last five years!" says McCastle.
That's why Neighbors United for a Better Baker sounded the alarm, hosting a forum to bring their community together to end the violence.
"We want to do what we can to make sure there are no more murders in Baker," says Dr. Monteic Sizer.
Only a handful of people answered NUBB's call. "If 100% of Baker isn't here tonight, that doesn't mean 100% of Baker isn't worried," says Spruel.
She was one of the people who demanded answers from city leaders. "What are they doing? Are they doing the most? Our law enforcement, are we trained properly for what's going on in Baker?"
Chief Mike Knapps says they are. He says the city is safe, and that his officers are doing everything they can to keep it that way.
"We have to educate our own homes, one at a time. Each person has to teach their family why it is not acceptable to break the law."
Residents say it's a work in progress, hoping they can return Baker to the community it once was.
"We need to do something. It's important. It's urgent that we do something," says Spruel.
NUBB says they expect to host more forums, like this one, to address more issues concerning the community.