Jan 272011
 

Milan residents make a statement against crime as they walk alongside police carrying colorful posters during the Milan anti-crime walk Wednesday night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

A rash of recent violent crime and tragedy, coupled with the energetic organizing of a new neighborhood group, led to the largest turnout yet for a NOPD Second District anti-crime march as police and residents paraded through the streets of Milan.

“Ever since the New Year there has been this explosion of crime. Errol Meeks’ shooting,” said Veronica Sharkey of the Milan Focus Group, who helped organize the anti-crime march. “There was a drive by last Wednesday … less than a block from my house. There was the robbery at the Freret Neighborhood Center. There was another armed robbery on Freret last week. There was a drug bust on Milan,  a gun battle on Freret, all within a space of about three weeks. I don’t know what on earth is going on or why all of a sudden there is this explosion of crime, but I think we really just need to bring awareness to it.”

Colorful homemade signs reading “Save a Life, Ditch your Knife,” “Stop Dat” or “No Time For Crime” filled the streets as they marched together for over a mile.

Mary Mangen, of Mid-City, marches with police during the Milan anti-crime walk Wednesday night. "Until crack and drugs are out of New Orleans, the problem will stay," said Mangen. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

“We really need to stop this violence.  Enough is enough,” said Andre Mills, a Milan resident.

At the intersection of Freret and Milan streets, the march paused in memory of Mariah Woods, who was killed in a crash caused by a suspect fleeing earlier this month   The anti-crime walk was dedicated to her and her two friends that were severely injured and hospitalized after the crash.

Capt. Darryl Albert of the NOPD Second District, speaks in front of the intersection of Freret and Milan streets, where Mariah Woods was killed in a crash caused by a suspect fleeing earlier this month. The anti-crime walk was dedicated to her and her two friends that were severely injured and hospitalized after the crash. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

The anti-crime march pauses at the intersection where Mariah Woods was killed . (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

“Tonight will just be a way to re-energize people, to be as active as we can in our area and show that we won’t tolerate crime and that we will take back these streets and that we are really connected,” said Eva Sohl, of the Freret Neighborhood, which got burglarized earlier this week. “I think this [the Freret Neighborhood Center burglary] was just another hit that made the crime going on in this area very very personal to a lot of people.”

Eva Sohl, of the Freret Neighborhood Center, passes out literature about Freret Neighborhood Center programs, to youth Wednesday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

There were around 100 attendees at the March, making it the largest crowd yet at a Second District crime walk, according Capt. Darryl Albert of the NOPD Second District, who was pleased by the community support. Neighbors had been organizing the march for several months.

“I want to get more neighbors involved and help them help keep us safe,” said Sharkey. “If you aren’t aware it’s going on there is nothing you can do about it. If you don’t talk to your neighbors, get to know your neighbors, get to know what goes on in your neighborhood, you don’t know what is not normal and what you should be looking for and reporting to police.”

"We really need to stop this violence. Enough is enough," said Andre Mills, a Milan resident, during the anti-crime walk. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Gregory Thomas applauds as the Milan anti-crime march passes by his home Wednesday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Kimberly VanWagner, director of the Freret Neighborhood Center, marches with Milan residents during the anti-crime march Wednesday evening. The Freret Neighborhood Center, a nonprofit that teaches job skills, was burglarized earlier this walk. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Milan residents smile as the anti-crime walk passes by Wednesday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Milan resident Andrew Green smiles as he decides to join the anti-crime march after he sees it passing by Wednesday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Milan residents make a statement against crime as they walk alongside police carrying colorful posters during the Milan anti-crime walk Wednesday night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Quentin Brown carries a sign reading, "Neighbors United for a crime-free community" during the anti-crime march. "Let's push these people out of here that don't want to be here," said Brown, who ran in 2006 for the District B City Council seat held at the time by Renee' Gill Pratt and won that year by Stacy Head. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Children march during the Milan anti-crime Wednesday night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Helene Barnett, of the Milan Focus Group, smiles as she holds a sign reading, "Save a life ditch your knife," in front of the Atkinson-Stern Tennis Center before the anti-crime march Wednesday evening. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Milan resident Donzelle Lamar receives a CrimeStopper flyer from a Second District police officer during the anti-crime march. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Milan residents make a statement against crime as they walk alongside police carrying colorful posters during the Milan anti-crime walk Wednesday night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

Milan residents make a statement against crime as they walk alongside police carrying colorful posters during the Milan anti-crime walk Wednesday night. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

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