RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — The murder of a young woman in Rancho Cordova brought police and concerned members of the community together on Thursday night. 

They banded together with a common priority: public safety and preventing similar crimes from happening again. 

Authorities reported that the body of 20-year-old Emma Roark was found in a secluded area near the American River earlier this month. Residents said they now want solutions, including better security and less unhoused residents in the area. 

“This senseless crime has shaken our community,” said Rancho Cordova City Manager Cyrus Abhar. 

“I know it doesn’t feel like it as we sit here right now, but the parkway is a safe area,” said park staff. 

Members of the park staff and law enforcement were in attendance as people called for change. Some want more lights and cameras along the popular parkways. 

“I am up to here with it. I know your hands are tied,” said a resident who lives near the park. 

Police arrested Mikilo Morgan Rawls, who authorities said was a transient in the Sacramento area, for allegedly kidnapping, raping and killing Roark. The conversation at the meeting ultimately turned to the unhoused epidemic. 

Some people said they were frustrated that the removal of camps along the parkway has been slow.

“We have a lot of catching up to do because of the health ordinance in place by the state,” Abhar said. 

Others cautioned that another approach should be used. 

“Homelessness is not a crime,” said one resident. “I’m begging people to not make the statement. Those are a small minority of people who have a difficult way.” 

The city said they are working to address the issue, saying affordable housing has been built nearby. They added that more is planned. 

“My condolences to her family,” said Roark’s friend Remi Millette. “I’m glad this is a safe spot for everyone to express their thoughts.” 

Millette said she meet Roark at a skate group. 

“She was awesome,” Millette said. “I just hope in light of Emma’s death that people will be hyper vigilant that they will stay safe, even in places that are familiar to them. There are a lot of people in this world who are not good people. By hyper vigilant, stay safe and to not walk alone.” 

Police continue to stress that people should report any suspicious activity. The city of Rancho Cordova said they hope to make more resources available to address homelessness at one of their future meetings.