#PeaceInPineBluff posts are going viral as a city widely known for their crime is celebrating no homicides day by day.
Since the launch of Go Forward Pine Bluff, renovations to the city haven’t been the only noticeable improvement for Pine Bluff. Pine Bluff, often forecasted in the media for crime, is continually improving their crime rate. Wednesday marked the 60th day in Pine Bluff without a homicide and residents are celebrating each day victorious.
Hashtags such as #VictoryOverViolence and #PeaceInPineBluff are trending the social media timelines.
Ryan Watley, CEO of Go Forward Pine Bluff and a Pine Bluff native, says particular violent crimes are an impediment to population and economic growth.
“While 60 consecutive days without a homicide is a statistic that hope is one day not newsworthy, it currently demonstrates to the state of Arkansas and beyond that the people in Pine Bluff value life,” said Watley.
Life long resident, Angela Adams, agrees.
"I believe it's extremely important to celebrate #PeaceInPineBluff,” said Adams. “I loved growing up here, getting an education, and giving back to my community. I want those same memories for my children and their children and it is possible with a changed mindset.”
Pine Bluff was reported in the top 5 dangerous cities in Arkansas and in the top 25 dangerous cities in America based on FBI crime analytics but with time comes change and with change comes hope.
So far efforts have been made to revitalize Pine Bluff, thanks to the Go Forward Pine Bluff mission to increase the revenues of the City government, enabling it to provide the level of services expected by their citizens.
Residents, as well as visitors, are taking notice.
Johnnie Harris, the top women’s basketball coaching assistant for the #1 seed and top 10 ranked Mississippi State, is a Pine Bluff native who keeps tabs on her community.
“Pine Bluff will always have a special place in my heart. I still have family, friends and classmates there,” said Harris. “It’s a blessing to see the city working to clean up the violence. I pray the efforts continue.”
Residents agree that is will take a community effort to keep the crime low and believe it can be done. Pine Bluff resident LaToya Murry says 60 days of peace means progress.
“People are starting to value each other and have stopped seeing each other as enemies,” said Murry. “I'm ecstatic and I have never been more proud of us.”
Watley explains that this acknowledgment also issues a challenge to neighboring communities to get behind their public safety initiatives and promote their days.
“We have to be a competitive city for economic investment and the peace in Pine Bluff movement allows us to do just that,” said Watley. “Proud is an understatement and whether we reach a day beyond 60, I’m thankful to God almighty for allowing us to experience a time such as this.”