SAN ANTONIO -- Rodrigo Rendon is relieved city workers will soon tear down two abandoned properties on Santiago Street. And San Antonio Police Chief Bill McManus says that's just part of a plan to help fight crime on the West Side.
Rendon has lived in the area for 37 years and said the trashed houses have become shelters for drug dealing and prostitution.
"Without these houses being here, then they got no where to go, and we'll keep pushing and pushing until they leave," Rendon told us.
Rendon and several neighbors have joined forces to re-energize the C.O.P.S. Neighborhood Alliance group of St. Timothy Catholic Church. The group wants to tackle big issues to improve the quality of life in the community.
Months ago, concerned citizens approached the Chief McManus and asked for help. Monday morning, they met at SAPD headquarters for an update about how the police department has responded.
We’re told officers have stepped up patrols in uniform and undercover. Since some people might be afraid to report crime, San Antonio Fear Free Environment Unit (SAFFE
) Officer Ben Esquivel says they can anonymously contact police.
Despite the threat of retaliation, Leslie Kelsie-Grubbs said she is not afraid to call for help.
"If I am asked about it, I will tell. That's my responsibility to the community. I have to live by example,” Grubbs said.
Grubbs is the executive director of Urban Connection San Antonio. The community organization offers a safe place for children to play and learn. She is most concerned about drug activity at West End Park. According to Grubbs, drug dealing is very common in the park where children should be allowed to play without fear of crime. She plans to stay involved with the coalition now working with SAPD.
“We can't do business the old way, which is go in and saturate an area and leave, and then expect things to get better," explained Police Chief, William McManus.
The police chief said there will be more meetings with neighborhood leaders, who all agree it will take a slow and steady approach to get crime under control.
Group members are planning activities to get neighbors out and talking with others during National Night Out on Tuesday, October 2nd.