Crime a factor in decline of St. Mary's Street night life

Resident hopeful for return to heyday

By Stephanie Serna - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - About 20 years ago on the iconic St. Mary's Street strip, lead singer of Angerkill, David Diaz de Leon, met his wife, Jenn.

"That was our first date at Wacky's Cantina," David Diaz de Leon said.

David and Jen, who is the bassist of Angerkill, said they have many great memories on St. Mary's.

"Over the years, the White Rabbit was our home away from home," David Diaz de Leon said. "For a lot of those years, once we started with our band, Angerkill, it gave us a chance to get out in front of tons of fans. We got to break our teeth in. There were tons of bands that got to play with national acts."

But like many band members and patrons, David was a victim of crime on the popular strip.

"Our car was broken into. We had parked down the ways a bit," he said. "It was a big concert, so we were parked down the ways in the neighborhood. We came back, the window was broken. They stole the car stereo."

Former San Antonio police officer and current police instructor, Gary Mound, said most of the crime on St. Mary's Street during its heyday was "quality of life" issues, like parking and loud music.

"A lot had to do with alcohol, as far as drunks," Mound said. "A lot of parking issues also."

But to Mound, it was the mid-90s when things started to change.

"In my opinion, what led up to that is that they had a murder back then," Mound said. "That crime was very serious. It scared a lot of people away from St. Mary's."

Some neighbors who didn't want to appear on camera said there is still some crime and parking problems. Dillon Aguirre, who lives near St. Mary's Street, said he doesn't mind the crowds. He said he supports a St. Mary's comeback.

"I've always thought that (St. Mary's Street) has a good vibe, even now," Aguirre said. "It's legendary, There's nothing that I would have wanted more than for it to exist similar to like Sixth Street in Austin."

Aguirre said the issues that come with living in a popular area are manageable.

"You just have to plan on when it's going to get busy. I mean, you kind of get used to it after a while," he said.

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