NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s in the community where stories seem to often repeat themselves.
“There’s no love in the community. It’s always trying to take, or steal, or kill, or hurt. There’s no love,” said Dr. Henry Davidson, the pastor of Strong Mount Community Church.
For more than 20 years, Davidson has been living in the same community as he watched the area change around him. In his neighborhood, he explained how they look out for one another; however, every day, he says it’s hard for him not to see the crime happening around his home.
“When I grew up, it was the parent next door, the neighbor next door knows who you were. Now we don’t know each other, and we get to know you, we try to know you, and then next thing you know someone’s breaking into your house,” Davidson explained.
On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Metro police were called just two blocks away from Davidson’s house, where officers spotted two teens on Charlie Place.
One of the suspects, identified by authorities as 18-year-old Brandon Howard, is accused of stealing a car and running away from officers. According to Metro police, detectives found two pistols and drugs nearby and inside the vehicle.
“It seems like our teens are going into a different direction. They are the ones committing a lot of the crimes because they are able to get away with it and I feel like in order for that to stop, something has to be done,” Davidson said.
Now, federal stimulus money is going straight into communities. On Tuesday, Metro Council members approved $10 million that will go towards a city-wide “Participatory Budget.” It will allow residents to create and then choose what projects the city will fund.
“They should put it really where it’s needed. Yes, we need to hire more police officers if possible, we could hire more security in the neighborhood to keep the crime rates down,” Davidson said.
In May 2022, the city celebrated its first project completed through the budgeting process. The project included six sets of speed bumps in the Bordeaux Hills area.
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“Rather than just giving our opinion and seeing some report three or four years down the road, we are actually able to see changes in the neighborhood within a year of the decision that the neighbors made about what they want to see in their community,” explained Jim Hawk, executive director of Neighbor 2 Neighbor. “They can appreciate that.”
Neighbor 2 Neighbor is a nonprofit founded to help residents build the community they want to see. The organization helps to consult areas on a wide range of issues, including crime, public safety, housing, transportation and neighborhood preservation.
Last year, the organization served residents in over 161 neighborhoods in Davidson County. Hawk explained, he fully supports a participatory budget, and after surveying several neighborhoods, oftentimes they see the same issues being a priority.
“The rapid development and growth in our city and how that is negatively impacting neighborhoods. The second is the crime that’s happening in our community, particularly around dangerous driving as well as the traditional activity that’s happening,” explained Hawk. “Then the third is litter.”
Residents interested in getting involved may email pb@Nashville.gov.
After Metro Council approved the funding, Mayor John Cooper’s office released the following statement:
“Prior to launching Participatory Budgeting in 2020, we asked ourselves, ‘Would giving residents a direct role in creating – and then choosing – projects to fund in their community produce results?’ Residents in North Nashville and Bordeaux answered that question with a resounding yes, and I’m thrilled that Metro Council has approved expanding this enormously successful program to all of Davidson County. Now, residents all across Nashville will have the unique opportunity to direct Metro funds to projects that make their neighborhood better for everyone. I’m grateful to Fabian Bedne in my office for his hard work making this program a success, and to Council for their continued support of this important initiative.”