DHS residents voice concerns with Police Chief after recent shootings

Four shootings, two homicides in city in one week

DHS residents voice concern with police after recent shootings
DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - A pastor of a Desert Hot Springs church wants to find solutions to crime concerns in the city. 
Pastor Kephyan Sheppard is working with police by hosting a community forum Monday night at Word of Life Fellowship Center. 
Residents spoke with DHS Police Chief Dale Mondary.  
"I'm concerned like everybody else. I'm on 7th Street, the [shooting was on] 6th Street and there were kids running around and everything. It's just unbelievable," Scott Eagles said.
The meeting comes as the city has seen a string of four shootings last week, two of which resulted in homicides.
"Our church is literally seven blocks away," Sheppard said about the shootings. "A lot of our kids especially, they walk these streets at night to and from practice, to and from the church. And some of us men have to almost police them getting up and down these streets after what’s been happening lately."
Mondary recently announced there was an 18 percent decrease in crime overall in the city in 2016. He credited community involvement and public outreach for the drop. 
Two people died in four shootings last week.
Police said at least two of the incidents were connected-- but weren't labeling them as gang related yet.
"It has a psychological effect on the community that people who maybe were feeling safe don't feel quite as safe now as they should," Mondary said.
One former gang member at the meeting said gang violence is an issue in Desert Hot Springs and one way to solve it could be to open the lines of communication.

"Reach out to them, not to push them away but to rather to open up places where they can come, be open and ask for help because a lot of times people don't know how to ask for help," Joedavid Lopez said.

Residents discussed forming a neighborhood watch in connection police.


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