Akron Community Stands Up Against Crime

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By Allison Brown

AKRON, Ohio -- People in Akron are making a strong effort to stop violence in their community.

Recent crime in the city has caused hundreds to stand up for change, including a teenager who was shot in the head back in January.

A gathering was held at Park United Methodist Church in the Kenmore community Saturday night. Hundreds of people listened to community members, and even victims like Jessica Halman talk about ways to make life more peaceful.

"After I got shot I thank God every day that I am alive," said Halman.

Halman is still wearing a neck brace, and she is still healing from her wounds after the violence. Halman was shot and Anna Karam was killed after police believe David Stoddard shot them inside of an Akron home.

Karam was pregnant.

"It has definitely changed my life," said Halman.

That story of tragedy is one that Akron's Kenmore community does not ever want to see again.

"We need to try to get back to the way things were, talk things out, before we resort to violence, and I think that's where we went wrong,"
said Tommy Uplinger, who helped organize Saturday's gathering.

Uplinger became involved in hopes of changing the minds of young people.

"We teach our kids to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but we shun the Ten Commandments," Uplinger said. "Kids don't have any consequence, so they're not scared to pull the trigger."

Among the people at Saturday's peace rally was Terri Anderson. She lost her 14-year-old son Tyler to gun violence in 2012.

She tells FOX 8 she won't be silenced.

"We're just here to spread the word and show the community we're stepping up, we're going to do something and we care," Anderson said.

Residents are hoping to gather often to keep the lines of communication open on this issue.