Violence reduction conference held at Lawton City Hall

Violence reduction conference held at Lawton City Hall-1/17/2020

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) -Representatives from organizations across Lawton/Ft. Sill came together to discuss ways to lower the city's crime rate.

Mental health, domestic violence, and community outreach were some of the topics discussed.

2019 was the deadliest year in Lawton’s history with 19 homicides..And that is what prompted Friday’s conference.

“Especially the domestics, it touched everybody’s heart, so we decided we got to jump in this now,” said Comanche County Violence Reduction Coordinator William White. “And we’ll have to reactive, but we’re going to get to a place where we’re proactive.”

Several guest speakers, including Lawton Police Chief James Smith, brought their own perspective on how to reduce violence.

“The community needs to come together and say hey, we need to work together in all different avenues and different facets, and different venues, come in as a partnership and deal with the issues that we’re having,” said Smith.

Chief Smith says of the 19 homicides in 2019, almost half were domestic related. He says while there was a spike in violent crimes last year, there was an decrease in crime overall.

“Lawton is a good city, it’s a safe city,” said Smith. “There’s some issues that we have but I don’t think that it is a crime ridden city where people should be afraid to go out at night.”

The Community Health Improvement Plan or CHIP assessment was also discussed today. The assessment is used to collect input on local factors contributing to health and quality of life. One attendee says forums like these are important for change.

“We’ve got to be aware of what are the problems, and how to strategize and work together to prevent them,” said , Ft. Sill SHARP program manager Leslie Watts. “And work towards actual things that we can do to work together”

White says they hope to have more of these conferences, to continue to find ways to better the community.

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