ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — As gun violence continues to be an issue across St. Landry Parish, local leaders say they believe the only way to make a difference is through community effort.

“We are doing everything that we can, and we have to just react right now. We are reacting, but proactive how do you stop an unknown location of a shooting,” Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said.

Opelousas Police Chief Graig LeBlanc says community outreach is a major way to shift law enforcement from reactive to proactive.

“Community is important. We need the help of the community, and if they have information they can contact Opelousas Police, they can contact Crime Stoppers, they can contact me personally.”

Because much of the violence comes from younger residents, other community leaders like Perry Fontenot believe groups can do more to work with the youth of the parish, while many parents work long hours just to pay the bills.

“Kids are sitting dormant at home and what they are learning from a lot of the video games and a lot of the media outlets they are receiving this information from is simply how to kill. That is why I am leaning so hard on these civic organizations to really get out here and do some things to help offset it. To help expand their minds.”

Fontenot says the community needs to look at the smaller picture and make small differences that will build to the entire parish being a safer place.

“It’s almost like looking at it from the lowest level possible. You have to take care of your kids, you have to look at your immediate family members, once you take care of your street you can take care of your neighborhood. Then from your neighborhood you’re going to start to collectively work on your city, and you’ve planted so many seeds and eventually it’s going to spread out like wildfire.”

Through community efforts to reach children and warn law enforcement of danger, the violence in the parish may finally see a decrease.