The Kings Manor neighborhood of Marrero has declared war on crime. Pass by the Second Zion Baptist Church most afternoons and you'll see Angel Nicholas and her team reaching out to a community that's seen more than its share of violence.
"Just recently, we had a shooting right here at the corner of Acre Road and Betty Street and last Friday, we had a shooting on the next street," said Nicholas.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office says this type of community partnership between cops and clergy, along with stepped up policing in crime challenged areas helped cut the number of murders in the parish in half, so far this year.
"We can't arrest our way out of this situation because it's more of a community problem as opposed to just an individual problem," said JPSP spokesman Col. John Fortunato.
According to the JPSO, there have been 11 murders in the parish so far in 2012. That's compared to 23 this time last year.
"We go into areas that we know have a propensity for violence," said Fortunato. "By saturating those neighborhoods, putting additional personnel there, making traffic stops, and doing aggressive law enforcement, then we hope because of the things that we're doing it's preventing others from coming to Jefferson Parish and commit some of these crimes."
While there was sharp decline in murders, there was also a slight 4% increase in overall crime in Jefferson Parish. The JPSO attributes much of that to a spike in property crimes.
"The majority of the property crime offenders that we have, if we found a way to incarcerate those people and be able to keep them in jail than it would drop that number significantly," said Fortunato.
In the meantime, Angel Nicholas and her grass roots program hope to make a difference one positive message at a time.
"We're trying to send a message, a message of education, a message of love, a message of trying to help them find jobs," said Nicholas. "What ever we can do in this community, we're willing to do it."
Fortunato says the majority of the murders in the parish are committed by someone the victim knew.