DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Over the last several months, the city of Dothan has seen an uptick in violent and property crime.

Many of these crimes have been committed by teens, and even children younger than that:

“Youth are not going to open up to people they don’t trust,” Senior Pastor of Destiny Church, Jevon Goode said. “They’re not going to open up to people that are going to be judgmental. And so we have to come with an approach that allows them the opportunity to talk, without the aspect judging what they say or how they say it.”

Goode also says younger people need to have mentors, those individuals who had gone down the wrong side of the law but have since changed their lives with the help of God.

“They also have to listen and know that we are not trying to limit them in any way, but that we really have experienced some things in our generation,” Goode said. “We want to be able to help them get through the things they are getting through or having to go through in their generation as well.”

Churches over the past couple of months are slowly working their way back into the pews, and working to allow people to enjoy each other’s fellowship.

Which Goode says community could make the difference.

“When you find a place that you can settle in to from a community standpoint and a culture standpoint, then lock-in because we need it,” Goode said.

Goode and his church, Discovery Church, also hold meetings that they refer to as, “Townhall meetings,” where they have city officials, teachers, doctors, commissioners, and other members of the community to meet and find solutions.

“Been a great response coming from the city and being able to bring in other organizations,” Goode said. “It’s amazing that people want to work with each other they just have to have some level of invitation.”

Goode also says that being personable can also help bridge the gap between generations and that sometimes teens just wants to be heard.