SAN ANTONIO -- A year after five shootings killed two and injured a dozen more, have crime reduction initiatives made the east side a safer place? The violence erupted over a period of ten days in Dec. 2011 and the city quickly sprang into action to stop the violence.
Police stepped up patrols with the gang, vice and Problem Oriented Policing units and saturated the area. City crews repaired 150 street lights and installed 11 new ones. Five anti-crime surveillance cameras were installed, but police would not reveal where they are. A summer basketball league was launched to keep kids off the streets.
Chief William McManus says over the last year, violent crime was reduced five percent, property crime down four percent and the murder rate was cut in half, from 28 in 2011 down to 14 in 2012. He said several units are still targeting the area.
"We move our resources around as we need to but the focus is always there. Understanding that our focus is reducing crime, quality of life and making people feel safe in their neighborhoods," he said.
District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor said she is still working to make positive changes in the area.
"We're still trying to convey the best method of vacant or under-utilized properties to people who will re-develop them and occupy them," Taylor said. A task force is still examining the legal issues, she said.
Chief McManus said a new gang injunction targeting 16 suspected gang members is also helping officers cut down on crime.
So have neighbors noticed a difference? Some like Rosemary Kelly Corothers said she now feels safe enough to sit out in her front yard on Ferris St.
"We don't have to worry about a shooting or a killing or running," she said.
But two separate shootings Friday night makes others think not much has changed.
"I don't think it (the crime rate) went down. It's just some of the stuff hasn't been reported because they're too scared to report it," said a woman who didn't want to show her face out of fear of retaliation.