Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
April 27, 2009
Prayer power ran crime right out of town
Mayor's Breakfast audience listened as a southern U.S. pastor told of how prayer, civic action transformed his once crime-ridden community
WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
Edmonton Police Choir sings Amazing Grace at the Mayor's Breakfast.
The change was immediate. Crime went down in Griffin, and Padgett credits the power of prayer for the results. The group brought community confidence back to the police force.
With this newfound trust, residents started keeping their porch-lights on, calling 911 when they witnessed a crime and reported suspicious activity to the authorities. After one year of prayer, the community’s crime rate dropped by 35 per cent.
“Your city is completely different from our city. We’re not asking you to start the Edmonton Watch & Pray, but we’re here to teach some principles that will work anywhere on the face of the Earth,” said Padgett.
He showed a seven-minute video about the positive changes in Griffin since the prayer group started in 2002.
Among the basic functions are prayer walks and gatherings, community coalitions, town hall meetings, neighbourhood surveys and cleanup projects.
While most of these projects come at a cost, Padgett said once people see results, they are willing to contribute.
“What we found out is people will not fund our vision, but what they will do is fund our success. They won’t help you get started, but once the ball gets rolling and they see you’re making a difference, money comes from everywhere.”
Residents and the police working together helped fight crime. Sometimes a simple suggestion like installing streetlights on a dark street was enough to eliminate the drug transactions happening in a residential neighbourhood.
Moreover, residents told the police that drug dealers hid their drugs in paper coffee cups and simply discarded the cup if the police came by. These sorts of tips helped the police, he said.
“After the town hall meetings, people came out and said they were tired of crime in their neighbourhoods, and gave some insight into how these criminals work and think. So now the police officers are able to do a better job because of their involvement in the community.”
Additional changes in Griffin over the past seven years include elimination of prostitution, transformation of slum areas, decrease in high school dropout rates, neighbourhoods cleaned up, less racism, increases in property value and no murders for 32 months.
A 13-year-old homicide case was even solved because the police had more time to investigate old cases.
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