CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY - Jamall Kinard cares so much about his neighborhood that he says he gave up coaching high school basketball this year to try to make his community safer.
Kinard is president of the Lakewood Neighborhood Alliance, located near Rozzelles Ferry Road in northwest Charlotte. In January, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police teamed up with the Neighborhood Alliance to announce the Community Empowerment Initiative, which is aimed at curbing violent crime.
"It makes me feel hopeful that what we're doing is making some type of impact," Kinard told FOX 46.
In 2017, FOX 46 reported on 86 murders in Charlotte, an alarming spike of 25 percent compared to the year before. So far in 2018 the numbers are not nearly as high. There have been 11 murders in Charlotte since January 1 compared to 21 homicides by the same time in 2017.
Kinard says he's noticed a police presence in Lakewood neighborhood recently.
"They're there patrolling those areas more often to keep people away from those abandoned houses that people have targeted for a lot of crime."
He says neighborhood leaders are also listening to the community's needs.
"What are you hearing from them? What are they saying they need, they're saying they need job training and assistance, help for the children, something for the children to do after school
It's not a charity we're not giving handout, we're just providing access and opportunity for the things that they need in order to create the neighborhood they want to have for themselves."