Efforts to make East Side safer in the works


SAN ANTONIO - According to recent numbers, crime is high on the East Side, but a strategy is in the works to reduce those numbers.

San Antonio Police, four Neighborhood Associations groups, and their councilman, are working together to make the area safer.

"First we identify what those problems are as we described them, we prioritize them. (Then) figure out which city department can touch the problem, " said Chief William McManus, with the San Antonio Police Department.

The initial focus areas will be the Alamodome Gardens, Dignowity Hill, Government Hill, and Denver Heights neighborhoods.

In the last three months, there have been more than 40 sexual offenses, one homicide and over 60 home break ins on the East Side.

There were also 13 sex assaults, and 52 drug violations.

Dee Smith, President of Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association, said empty lots are also an issue.

"I don't have a problem against homelessness, but I have a problem when you throw trash and you throw bottles and you have mattresses, looking like Frio Street downtown," she said.

She also said that not only are the streets the problem.

"More lighting. I know Lamar Street has no lights from cherry to New Braunfels not one light, " said Smith.

The needs are many, and San Antonio Police is looking forward to working with the community to fix it.

"We all need to keep working together to address the problem, " said McManus.

However, for some residents, the East Side will always be home regardless of the crime.

"I like the East Side, the East Side has been good place for me, " said Charles Williams, a resident.

Williams has been a business man for over 50 years and he started the Williams Barber College to help students get an education.

"I am always overjoyed around Christmas and Thanksgiving because I get calls from them young men and women, saying thank you Mr. Williams for turning my life around."

"I grew up in this community. I grew into adulthood in this community. Started my business in this community, and I had positive role models on a daily basis," he added.

McManus said there will be either weekly or bi-weekly meetings in the near future with the Neighborhood Association groups to continue to address the issue.

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