LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Dozens of people packed a South Los Angeles church on Sunday afternoon for an emergency community meeting to address the recent spike in homicides.

The town hall meeting at Hamilton United Methodist Church on South Figueroa Street lasted two hours and followed a rally earlier in the day to call for an end to violence in the area.

The Los Angeles Police Department says there has been an increase in crime and gang-related homicides.

In fact, since August, 39 people have been killed with nearly half of those homicides occurring in South LA.

According to the LAPD’s 77th Division, the 8th District had 43 murders this year.

“It’s been really, really hard for all of us. It’s something that we’re gonna have to deal with and I just want to speak out to people, you know, because it needs to stop,” says Valerie Sherman, a homicide victim’s mother.

Sherman’s son was killed last month.

“It’s senseless. They’re coming out here on the streets and they’re taking people’s lives and innocent people that doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on in the streets,” she said.

The LAPD also says they’ve deployed additional officers to the streets to try and reduce the crime since the recent spike.

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