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Derwin Montgomery, City Council member and rep
resentative for the East Ward, encourages residents
to "keep pedaling" during a community meeting on
Chief Barry Rountree takes questions from the crowd during a community meeting held at the Winston
Lake Family YMCA last week.
String of homicides concerns community
BY TEVIN ST1NSON
The residents who live in the
vicinity of the Old Greensboro
Road want answers.
Following three homicides in
the neighborhood in less than two
months, longtime resident Mona
Lisa Byrd said at times she is
even afraid to leave the house -
"With all the shooting going
on and the things we see on a
daily basis, I don't feel safe," said
Byrd. "Something has to be done.
I shouldn't have to worry about
my grandson getting shot or hurt
when he's getting off the school
To ease the concerns of Byrd
and others in the community, last
week Council Member Derwin
Montgomery invited members of
the Winston-Salem Police
Department (WSPD) to discuss
the rise in homicides and what
they are doing to combat the
issue. Without revealing informa
tion on the investigation, Chief
Barry Rountree said the three
homicides in the area, two on
Barbara Jane Avenue and one on
Cruise Street, were not random
acts of violence.
"From what we're seeing in
these homicides and the other
across tha-eisyethe victim and the
suspect are ronneCted. These are
not random acts of violence."
Rountree also discussed the
city wide increase in homicides.
This year, Winston-Salem saw
homicides jump from 16 in 2015
to 23 so far this year. In response,
the WSPD has increased patrols
in problem areas and used over
time to put more officers in the
streets but, more than anything
else, Roundtree said they need
more cooperation from the peo
ple in the community.
"We need information from
you," he continued. "We can't
solve a single crime without
information from you. You have
to get involved if you want to
improve your neighborhood."
John Brown, president of the
Association, echoed Rountree's
statements and urged residents to
do their part. He said, "We have
to start looking out for our neigh
"If we come together as a
community there will always be
somebody watching," said
Brown. "We need to go back to
the old days when the neighbor
hood was like a family.
"If every neighbor looks out
for their neighbor, everybody is
looked out for. A lot of things we
can stop ourselves."
For those who don't want to
get involved or don't feel com
fortable going to the police with
information, Brown said he
would go to the police for them.
He also encouraged residents to
attend the monthly neighborhood
watch meeting held at the Public
Safety Building. Rev. Curvy
Buford said although he doesn't
live in the neighborhood, when
he was growing up in the city,
officers had no problem getting
out of their cars and connecting
with the people they serve. He
said that's something he would
like to see more of, especially in
"It seemed to me back then
they were very proactive. Police
in our neighborhood knew us and
our families," continued Buford.
"I lived in this neighborhood for
20 years and when I came back it
seems like that was completely
Montgomery, who represents
the East Ward, said in order to
keep the community safe for
everyone, the fight against
wrongdoers has to be ongoing.
"It's like riding a bike. If you
want to ride your bicycle down a
hill and you stop pedaling and
hope you can coast to the bottom,
but at some point you may stop,"
said Montgomery. "If you want
to get to the bottom of the hill,
you have to keep pedaling.
"That's what happens some
times with community engage
ment. We start off good, then we
stop pedaling. We have to keep
pedaling, even when there's no
shooting or fighting going on in
? the neighborhood, we have to
keep pedaling." .
Following the meeting, Byrd
said she felt good about the
future of the neighborhood.
"This meeting was a step in
the right direction. I know a lot
has to be done to turn this neigh
borhood around, but I feel better
about moving forward after talk
ing with officers and others in the
Anyone with information on
the homicides on Barbara Jane
Avenue, or Cruise Street should
call Winston-Salem Crime
Stoppers at 336-727-2800.
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