Businesses fight stigma of East Side crime

Briefing Thursday by top local law enforcement

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Bill Caldera - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Although neighborhoods east of downtown have become trendy places to live, East Side businesses are fighting the long-held stigma that crime in certain areas is widespread.  

"Once that stigma gets in people's minds, it's hard to get out. You have to unlearn it," said Joe Linson, a partner of Tony G's Soul Food, one of the East Side's most popular restaurants.

Linson will be among East Side business owners attending a public safety briefing Thursday from 8-10 a.m. on the terrace level of the AT&T Center. It was organized by San Antonio for Growth on the East Side, also known as SAGE.  

Tuesdae Knight, president and CEO of SAGE, said several business owners already have submitted questions for Police Chief William McManus, Sheriff Javier Salazar and Fire Chief Charles Hood.

She said some are asking the following: "'Tell me about the misperceptions about the East Side. Tell me about the crime statistics. Tell me about the programs that you're putting in place to address these issues.'"

Knight said getting the facts and figures directly from law enforcement and emergency services agencies could help business owners encourage others to invest in the East Side. 

"We know this community deserves to have businesses come into the community," Knight said. "We're here to support it."   

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