The Pine Bluff Police Department organized a Victory Over Violence Walk that started at Central Park on Saturday morning, encouraging Pine Bluff residents to ditch the violence and help support and uplift the city.

Members of the PBPD, Mayor Shirley Washington, along with volunteers, families, children, KARK and Fox 16, gathered outside at Central Park to stand up against violence.

Simmons Bank, Super 1 Foods and Relyance Bank were among the list of sponsors for the event. Pine Bluff High School students providing anti-violence artwork displayed on a nearby fence to illustrate the walk’s goals.

“We’re here to change the character of our city,” Washington said.

Toting signs decorated with various messages encouraging peace, participants started their way around the neighborhood at 10 a.m. chanting “violence over victory.”

A megaphone and the crowd’s encouragement helped gain the support of onlookers who joined the group mid-walk.

By the time the line of marchers completed their loop around the neighborhood, participants had nearly doubled.

Complimentary hot dogs, chips, drinks and music by DJ Joe Anderson were waiting for supporters when they completed their lap around the neighborhood. Free t-shirts, basketball balls, and more were also passed out free-of-charge to participants during a giveaway towards the end of the event.

This is the first time the Victory Over Violence Walk has been held in Pine Bluff since the first one in May 2017, which was located in Little Rock.

Reported crime in Pine Bluff dropped 7.37 percent in September compared to September 2017, according to the Police Department’s monthly report issued earlier this month.

In September, there were 402 crimes reported compared to 434 in September 2017.

Like most police departments, Pine Bluff reports what are called Part One crimes, which include murder, rape and attempted rape, robberies, aggravated assaults and simple assaults as crimes against persons, and commercial burglary, residential burglary, thefts and motor vehicle thefts as crimes against property.

Those categories are required by the FBI for national statistics.

For the year, a total of 3,353 crimes have been reported in Pine Bluff. That figure is 1,343 less than the 4,696 crimes that were reported in September 2017.

Looking at crimes against persons, there was one murder reported last month, bringing the total so far this year to 17. Through the same period in 2017, 20 murders had been reported in Pine Bluff, and an additional eight occurred in the final three months of the year to bring the total to 28.

Six rapes or attempted rapes were reported last month, double the number reported in September 2017, and there were nine robberies or attempted robberies, one less than in September 2017. A total of 34 aggravated assaults were reported in September 2017 and September 2018, while simple assaults declined from 160 in September 2017 to 122 last month.

Looking at property crimes, 10 commercial burglaries were reported in September 2018, two less than in September a year ago. Residential burglaries also declined from 66 in September 2017 to 55 last month. Reported thefts increased from 115 in September 2017 to 139 last month while reported auto thefts dropped from 33 to 26.