More than 400 people filled the Centro Christiano Nacion de Jesus church on Monday night to pray for an end to the recent rash in violence throughout the city.
"This is very effective. I think this is what the community needs," Springfield resident Ashley Shaw said. "There are all kinds of people going on right now, there is different stuff in the city going on and I think we need this kind of community faith-based stuff to really uplift the morale of Springfield."
With three dead in nine days and almost two dozen shootings since April, religious leaders have teamed up with the police department. On Monday night the "Eyes on the Street" plan was created and celebrated with a city-wide prayer service.
"And it just fully supports what we've been talking about at the police department, the need for collaborative response, community concerns and an overall holistic approach to crime in the neighborhoods," Springfield police Commissioner John Barbieri said.
The Council of Churches of Western Massachusetts said they're taking a stand and making their presence known in the community.
"Every week, we are going to preach something that relates to overcoming fear, stepping up and working with the police to make our neighborhoods and communities a better place," Archbishop Timothy Paul Baymon, of the Council of Churches of Western Massachusetts said.
With 155,000 Springfield residents across 32 square miles, the commissioner says this is exactly what Springfield needs.
"It's so important the people get involved, that the church gets involved and there is a return of informal social order to neighborhoods," Barbieri said.
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