LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Fresh and Tight Barbershop along Asher may be closed on Mondays, but Leonard Hall’s love for his shop doesn’t take a day off.
“I have a passion for it,” says Hall.
His business opened more than a decade ago, something he renovated to better his neighborhood.
“Together we can overcome this,” says Hall.
Police in Little Rock report a 34 percent reduction in homicides, a 16 percent drop in violent crime which cuts overall crime down 12 percent.
“We have really increased the number of gun crimes that we have sent and are being prosecuted federally,” says Little Rock Police Assistant Chief Alice Fulk.
Assistant Chief Fulk says the city’s stance on gun crimes sends a strong message to criminals.
“If they are caught with a gun and if they have had any prior history with any type of gun crimes, they will get [a stronger] sentence,” says Fulk.
Fulk says the department’s Telephone Reporting Unit, which allows citizens to make non-emergency police reports via phone, has started.
The unit, which cadets work in, have taken 3,659 reports from April to September.
The Traffic Safety Unit, which responds to minor accidents, wrote 715 accident reports between April and September.
Fulk says the Telephone Reporting and Traffic Safety units free up officers for patrol.
The reduction comes more than a year after Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola announced his Little Rock For Life plan to combat violence.
“I think last year was an aberration,” says Stodola.
Mayor Stodola says while a lot of work has been done, he’s not done yet.
He says his next mission is to ask state lawmakers to strengthen intimidation and witness bribery laws in hopes of getting more witnesses to come forward.
“They vanish on you and in some of these retaliatory shooting type cases that’s always a very difficult thing,” says Stodola.
Fulk says the department’s Violent Crime Apprehension Team has made 1,122 felony arrests so far in 2018 and seized 83 firearms.
Mayor Stodola says he hopes more businesses will sign up next summer to hire students.
He says there were 700 youth looking for work this past summer, but the jobs weren’t there.
Hall says he’s happy with Mayor Stodola’s plan.
“This is deeply personal,” says Hall.
Hall says he won’t stop pushing for Little Rock because it’s what his son would do who was shot and killed more than ten years ago.
“He was supposed to take over this business. He was just finishing barber school at the time that he got killed,” says Hall.