SAN ANTONIO – Some residents in the Prospect Hill neighborhood are hoping a petition will help set up a permanent home for the San Antonio Police Department in their community.
Residents in the neighborhood located between Zarzamora Street and North General McMullen Drive said they are fed up with crime and want a police storefront substation on North Zarzamora Street.
"Justice and law and order, that’s what the West Side needs," said Pastor Henry Munoz, with the Jesus Christ Advocate Church.
So far, the neighborhood association has collected 350 signatures and has started a Change.org petition.
In the last year, the neighborhood has had four murders, dozens of aggravated assaults and countless thefts. The most recent incident was an officer-involved shooting in the 200 block of North Zarzamora.
San Antonio police have tried solving the problem with neighborhood block walks and graffiti cleanups. Their San Antonio Fear Free Environment, or SAFFE, officers are also heavily involved in community relations.
"We essentially have virtual storefronts by way of our website. A lot of the information that you could go in and get from a storefront is available 24/7 on our website,” San Antonio Sgt. Jesse Salame said.
While residents agree that there is crime in the area, not everyone believes that a storefront is needed. The neighborhood watch wants police, just not a strip-mall substation.
"I don't think that’s a good use of resources. I think for us, the better use of resources would be to hire police officers or get more police officers hired in this area with a community attachment," said Tinker Mass Schultz, with the neighborhood watch.
San Antonio police are not against the plan and are willing to listen to ideas, but they said they have to be strategic with their resources.
"Ultimately, we got to figure out how feasible is it? Where we going to put it? How are we going to staff it? Is it going to be 24/7? How many people are we going to staff it with? What services are we going to provide there?" Salame said.
The neighborhood association hopes to collect 500 signatures and then take its plan for a storefront substation to the San Antonio City Council.
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