RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Raleigh Police Department is working to build better relationships between the department and the community.

Monday they held a community meeting with Justice Served NC. Some of the concerns neighbors discussed were community-officer relations, race relations, violent crime and officer response times.

Justice Served NC executive director, Diana Powell, says addressing safety and officer and community relations is one of her top concerns.

“We deal with so much…homelessness, mental health, substance abuse, and then we deal with on the other side with the officers. they are human, they have their own challenge—having to come into a community that is drug-infested, coming into a community that is not comfortable with law enforcement,” said Powell.

Raleigh Police Chief, Estella Patterson, was also in attendance. Her goal is for officers and neighbors to come together to both talk and listen.

“Having the community support, having the community to help us solve the issues that we’re dealing with is so huge. It’s instrumental to have that,” said Patterson.

She says the police department is working to address residents’ concerns and also reduce violent crime.

At a press conference last week U.S. Attorney Michael Easley Jr. said last year there were 33 homicides. So far this year there have already been 24.

“The recent uptick in violent crime that we have seen—we are putting everything at it. We’re using all of our resources, we are using technology to the best of our ability, we’re also partnering with community groups,” said Patterson.

The Raleigh Police Department and Justice Served NC have been holding community meetings since January. Chief Patterson says it’s a step in the right direction to building better relationships with the community.