East Side initiatives help curb crime

Bigger police presence, community involvement helping

SAN ANTONIO - The City of San Antonio and its Police Department say initiatives to curb crime are working but more work still needs to be done.

Five months ago, an East Side meeting focusing on a recent surge in shootings in the area was filled with finger-pointing and anger as more than 200 residents came, calling for more help with rising crime.

At Tuesday's follow-up, it was a much more subdued atmosphere, and smaller crowd with just a few dozen people in attendance.

"It tells me that things have calmed down and there are not as many people who are angry as before," said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, who gave a brief presentation at the meeting. "We were already committing a lot of resources to the East Side but yet the problems still existed and I think it's important that community has a chance to vent and let us know what their concerns are."

Concerns about safety were addressed with more than 90 street lights repaired, another 9 installed, and 5 security cameras added in City Council District 2.

"The police have reported that they've been able to make some additional arrests from the information they've gathered through the cameras," said District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor. "I think residents are feeling a little better in the areas that have better lighting at this point."

"It's very much needed," added Wheatley Heights Neighborhood President Ernestine Green. "Ivy has done a beautiful job. I refer to her as an angel."

Chief McManus spoke about an increased effort including more manpower in the district which lead to more arrests, weapons, and drug money seizures than the rest of the city combined. But that's only half of the battle.

"Arrests don't fix things," said McManus. "Arrests quiet things down so we can come in and do other things."

"We still have some work to do related to engaging some of the youth that are getting involved in things but that's not just with SAPD, that's kind of a community partnership issue," added Taylor.

One of the community initiatives is a midnight basketball league that begins Thursday at the Davis Scott YMCA at 1213 Iowa.


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