Sanford community leaders work to cut down crime after rash of shootings

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SANFORD, Fla. - Community leaders in Sanford said they're looking for ways to cut down on crime after a wave of shootings in just a matter of days.

The growing crime in Sanford has residents on the edge.

Photos: Sanford fatal shooting

"It's bad. Sanford didn't have a reputation for that long ago. It's done got out of control," resident Pastor Michael Vallot said. “It's something that we've got to get a hang on, and the police force can't do it by themselves."

Read: Boy shot in head while sleeping in Sanford home

Sanford police said they responded to five shootings last week. Police said it's difficult to get witnesses to come forward.

Police said Toby Martin was killed in the backyard of a home on Willow Avenue on Thursday and that a just few days before that incident, a 16-year-old boy was shot in the head during a drive-by shooting near State Road 417.

Read: Sanford police release surveillance video of drive-by shooting

Police said shots were fired on West 4th Street this week, but no one was hurt.

"The communities in Goldsboro, Midway, Georgetown, we do not embrace this. We do not support all of this," Vallot said. "These young men got to stop taking each other out.”

Read: Teenage boy fatally stabbed in Sanford

Sanford City Commissioner Velma Williams said the back-to-back shootings are a concern, and that people are afraid to be in their neighborhoods.

"We all need to wake up and come together and realize that this problem cannot be solved by just complaining," Williams said.

Williams said she’s held meetings with other city leaders to work on a plan to cut the violence, including marches and rallies.

"To let those people involved in the shootings and robberies know we are looking at you.  We know you're out there doing it," she said.

Police have increased patrols of the area.

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