In a town where violence is rare, police and residents hit the streets and knocked on doors to try to turn up leads on three recent crimes.
High Point Police Chief Jim Fealy told a crowd of about 50 residents that violence affects everyone.
“Whatever community you live in High Point – if there's an act of violence, we all have a problem,” Fealy said. “Every single one of us.”
Fealy said some believe the culture has become desensitized to violence, that people aren't outraged by it anymore.
“Well, we have our outrage,” Fealy said. “Our citizens, our law enforcement partners – we have our outrage and we use it in a positive fashion, to try to achieve positive goals.”
Last week, 16-year-old Travis McConnell was found dead, face down in a ditch. McConnell had been severely beaten, and his death was ruled a homicide. Two arrests were made in the case Thursday, but police weren't giving any information about the suspects, citing a court order.
On July 25, Arthur William Mastin Jr., 26, of Pleasant Garden was found in his car on Oberlin Drive, dead of a gunshot wound. Cameron Delaney Bridges, 18, of High Point was later arrested. He remains in the Guilford County jail in High Point without bond on a first-degree murder charge.
Two days later, Wang Xing, 39, was robbed and badly beaten after delivering a food order at an apartment complex. Police found Xing at the back of his restaurant, Dragon City. Xing is still in critical condition, and no one has been arrested in the beating.
Police and residents went to the areas where these crimes occurred, asking neighbors for any new information and handing out fliers with the known facts.
Before the group hit the streets, Fealy asked them to remember the evening's two missions.
“The first is to garner whatever information we can, that we don't already have,” Fealy said. “The second, and maybe in some ways more important, is to let people in these communities know: ‘You are not alone.'”
As they walked the streets, the participants said the event, co-sponsored by High Point Community Against Violence, made them feel empowered instead of fearful.
“You can sit in your house and watch the news and be scared of this violence when it happens,” said Margaret Bannister, 54. “Or you can go out and help to catch the kind of people who do this, and help the police do something about it.”