After a string of crime and violence over the past year, a group of more than 30 concerned residents in Killeen met downtown to discuss conflict resolution.
"There's so much conflict in Killeen,” said Killeen resident Brooke Skilang. “A lot of people don't know how to resolve it. A lot of people go off their own understanding of this.”
With the latest shooting in the city happening Wednesday, Tavaras Bethel of Village United said he thinks a lot of the violence stems from the socio-economic condition in Killeen. He said the city needs more resources to create opportunities for people who come from impoverished communities.
“Conflict stems from miscommunication,” Bethel said. “We want to be able to teach those skills that's necessary to enhance listening so that way we can mitigate some of those flaws that occur naturally from failure and communication.”
Many community members agreed that to understand conflict in the streets they have to know how to recognize it. To help with that, Village United said they rented out a building in Downtown Killeen where kids can feel save and talk about their conflicts with adults who've been in their situation. They said hopefully they can help them solve issues before violence erupts.
"When we stop viewing them as thugs and start viewing them as misguiding children then we can be more loving towards them as we seek to bring them back,” Bethel said.
The Village United said Thursday was their first meeting of 2018. They plan to meet every Thursday to discuss and plan mentoring events to better the community.