LA MARQUE, TX - Following an uptick of crimes in La Marque, members of the community met with local officials Sunday afternoon to discuss ways to keep their city safer.
The mayor, police chief and city manager spoke with the community about the La Marqué Safe City Initiative. One of the key messages came from the mayor, who urged the community to continue supporting the police department.
"I have a lot of friends and neighbors who are afraid. I'm not afraid but I would like to know what the plan is," said Pamela Mahan.
Mahan is one of many La Marque residents who’ve been sounding the alarm on rising crime in their community. Mahan recalls experiencing a close call at her own home.
"Four years ago, on New Years Eve we had just gotten a metal roof. Almost midnight, we were pajama’d up, waiting for bed, waiting for midnight and a 9-millimeter came through our roof. Right by his head. And things have changed since then," Mahan said.
On Sunday, dozens of other concerned La Marque residents gathered for a townhall at the high school.
Residents had a chance to meet with city council members and submit question to Mayor Keith Bell and Police Chief Kirk Jackson as well as listen in to the details of the safe city initiative.
"We’re making arrests but we’re making arrests when probable cause exists to do so. There’s a lot going on. You’re going to see that here pretty soon," Jackson said.
The initiative was launched after notable cases like the officer-involved shooting death of Joshua Feast in December and the drive-by shooting of a 14-year-old just last week.
Mayor Bell says the community’s suspicions that these crimes may be tied to gang violence are not going unheard.
"We are no longer going to allow these things to happen. Know that we will find you, that we will bring you to justice, that you will think twice, three times before you decide that you want to be involved in any criminal activity in our city. It is unacceptable. We will no longer take it and we will do everything in our power to keep our citizens safe," Bell said.
Bell promised to make La Marque the safest city in the state, but said he understands it won’t happen overnight.