HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Community policing -- it's what leaders in High Point say needs to happen to crack down on violence in the city.
High Point Community Against Violence members have advocated for safety for 20 years, but this year's surge in homicides has the group looking for new solutions.
"I have sold drugs. I used to smoke crack cocaine in the 90s. I lived in some of the worst times here in High Point," said Jerry Malloy, at Wednesday's HPCAV meeting.
Malloy escaped the cycle of violence in High Point.
"I know that ain't the way life was supposed to be for me," he said.
Even though he turned his life around, the crime continues. The city has seen eight homicides this year.
"We've had this bad uptick and it hurts," said Jim Summey, the executive director of HPCAV.
Police say more of them are related to drugs and gangs.
"A lot of kids, they don't have that stability in their home for whatever reason, or they don't have those values to fight back," Malloy said.
At Malloy's first HPCAV meeting on Wednesday, he spoke up. He believes individuals can make a big change in their community.
"It starts with us," he said.
He's starting a new initiative at Oak Grove Baptist Church called "Love Thy Neighbor." The goal is to keep bridging the gap and create trust between the community and police. Malloy plans to go door to door, explaining what changed his point of view.
"That way the community can receive them a little bit better than they've been receiving them," he said.
"We don't want it to be the community versus the police, no. The police are a part of the community," Summey added.
High Point leaders say this kind of community policing is key to cutting down on violence.
"Is it going to touch everybody? No. But the more people it touches, the better we are," Summey said.
"I'm not going out in the street trying to be a police officer," Malloy said. "I want to go out there in the community and say, 'Hey, I love you.' That's all I want to say, is, 'I love you and I want the best for you. No strings attached.' That's simple, that's free."
Malloy has not yet organized a first meeting for this new group. You can reach him by calling the church at (336) 885-5204.