BELLEVILLE -- Black-on-black crime is an "insidious cancer" in Belleville and surrounding communities, and the only way to stop it is to acknowledge it.
That was part of the message given Wednesday night by Police Chief William Clay, who is black, to the community.
Residents at the meeting countered that regardless of race, crime is a problem for Belleville.
About 60 people filled a Belleville meeting room to talk about their experiences with crime, how they think is the best way to fight it and what to do next. The Center for Racial Harmony and the Belleville Human Relations Commission conducted the meeting.
Two recent murders in the Franklin neighborhood and the carjacking, abduction and stabbing of a young mother have heightened residents' fears about crime, Clay said.
Statistically, young black males ages 15 to 34 are disproportionately both the victims and suspects of violent crimes and are dying at the hands of other black men at shocking numbers, Clay said.
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