"The shootings have got to stop."
It's a community-wide search for a solution, as law enforcement officials, along with community leaders look to carry out Mayor Andy Berke's ultimatum. It starts with law enforcement, changing the way they react within a troubled community to rebuild a trust.
"They are going to see police officers and police cars in their area only going after people, rather than 50 police cars saturating an entire community and stopping everybody that moves that had nothing to do with the murders. So that right there will in turn build the trust of the community to show that the police aren't just after everybody, they are just after the ones that need to be off the street," said Lt. Todd Royval with the Chattanooga Police Department.
While within the community, the focus will be on helping families change the priorities of troubled youth.
"I definitely believe it starts within the home. Parents have to become more engaged in their children's lives. And then you have to hold organizations accountable and make sure that we are doing what we are saying that we are going to do in terms of being there for the children within the community, and also providing programs where they can actually see some sort of benefit," said Alpha Psi Alpha fraternity member Reginald Cooper.
And show the Scenic City that a changing perception will also mean changing lives
"There are a lot of things that are influential in children's behavior. How do we deal with that? We deal with that by exposing them to the truth of those things and the adverse affect that it may have on them. These are not thugs. These are brilliant people and that's what we need to understand. Perception is reality and let's have the right perception of these young men," said Richard Bennett, the CEO of A Better Tomorrow.
The violence reduction forum was sponsored by Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity as part of their southern regional convention.