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West Side residents walk neighborhood streets to curb crime, encourage others to get involved

SAN ANTONIO – The minister of the West Laurel Church of Christ helped lead Thursday night’s Spring Walk/Talk with the San Antonio police. He said that as a result of such events, he hopes neighborhoods will become full of "neighbors" instead of isolated residents.

“The West End Hope in Action wants to be that bridge for communication, and we want to advocate the fact that no one is alone in this fight. We're all in this thing together,” said Shawn Price, who is a member of West End Hope in Action, a community group focused on neighborhood safety. “Right now, we have a problem that we have more residents than neighbors. Case in point, there's an instance where a next door neighbor's house got robbed with a U-Haul truck, because the neighbor didn't know they weren't at home and they were being robbed.”

Police Chief William McManus was unable to participate in the walk but did show up before it started to speak with the volunteers. He said the partnership between the police and the public in San Antonio is much different than the relationship he saw during his years in Washington, D.C.

“We're partners in this effort and we communicate issues,” McManus said. “They let us know what the concerns are and we do whatever we need to do to address them, and we follow back up with them and that's huge. That creates a huge, huge block of community satisfaction with police and what we're trying to do to help.”

The volunteers focused on an area bordered by Zarzamora Street in the west, Culebra Road in the north, Colorado Street in the east and Poplar Street in the south. Volunteers hoped to gather information from residents about crime concerns in their area, as well as invite them to a Friday community meeting.

“Our current culture says that we stay inside our house and we mind our own business. When we do that, all we're doing is asking for trouble,” Price said. “The very second a neighborhood stops being a neighborhood, then by definition, it's impossible to have a community.”

“In some neighborhoods, they're not at this level yet with the partnership, with the engagement, with the block walking and all those things,” McManus said. “There's more and more neighborhoods that want to get engaged, that want to be involved. We're here at whatever level they decide they want to be involved at.”