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The Church of New Orleans holds a peace march against crime

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) — People gathered in their hundreds in front of Pontilly Coffee to hike the Chef Menteur Highway to Louisa St. and back again.

Many carried signs of kindness, love, peace and prayer as they walked behind Bobby Belcher, who carried a wooden cross on the journey.

He says the march was meant to spread a simple message.

“We want our communities back and we want to claim them in the name of Jesus,” Belcher said.

The Bethel Community Baptist Church organized the peace march. The crowd marched side by side, pausing along the way to pray and sing near scenes of the recent shooting.

Last month a man was shot dead at a bus stop near a Walmart on the freeway, and in December four people were shot dead at a dollar tree.

“We’re sick of the violence, and we’re sick of the crime, the carjackings, the thefts, the drugs, the prostitution, the alcohol,” Belcher said.

According to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the NOPD’s Third Ward, in which the neighborhood is located, has seen a 67% increase in homicides and a 14% increase in auto thefts compared to last year. However, there has also been a 43% decrease in shootings and a 59% decrease in armed robbery.

Organizers say the march was meant to symbolize a united front against criminal behavior.

“Go to your local church. Go to your local church. become a member That’s how the crime is solved,” said Pastor Melvin Jones. “I used to be a crackhead, heroin user, alcoholic, lived on the streets for three years. god changed me That’s what we’re dealing with here.”

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