PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – Bridging the gap among churches, community and police -- that was the goal behind a faith based forum held Monday morning in Petersburg.
It's a divine collaboration to help solve common community concerns. Pastors, Petersburg Police and residents gathered to talk about ways to work together. The group wants to move the city forward and make it a safer place to live.
"Quality of life is the key in any city. I tell people often crime goes where we allow it," said Petersburg Police Chief John Dixon.
Those in attendance raised concerns about blight in the city. Others focused on crime.
"We had two automobiles that were broken into," said Petersburg resident, Charles Reese.
Reese wanted to know why it took officers more than an hour to respond to his call for help.
"I've gotten some very good answers," said Reese.
Overall, crime is down in Petersburg. Chief Dixon says with help from the more than 150 churches in the city that trend will continue.
"We have to rethink how we do things. We have to bring in some new things. Often people say think outside the box. My theory is think there is no box," said Dixon.
Pastor Bob Diggs is one of the several pastors who showed up to reach out.
"The church is a church, and the church prays and prayers change things, but it also has a pulse as to what's going on in the community," said Diggs.
During the two hour meeting everyone was encouraged to get involved and to bring ideas to the table.
"We want to hear the concerns and focus on our common goals and work toward those common goals together," said Dixon.
Some residents who attended the meeting say the gathering is a step in the right direction. They're hoping the conversation will translate into action.
Chief Dixon says he plans on holding similar meetings in the future.