Crime prevention supporters walk East Side streets to help those in need

Focus of effort was intervention in community

By Deven Clarke - News Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A unique crime prevention effort took place Friday along several streets on the city’s East Side.

The walk was led by community members, District 2 Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw and police who are fed up with the negativity that plagues the area.

The focus was intervention. Leaders said it takes bravery to go face-to-face with known criminals but say that it’s necessary to solve what seems to be a deep-rooted problem on the East Side.

“I used to live the life. I’m from the East Side. I’m from the streets,” said Martin Henderson, a peace advocate.

Henderson now walks right up to people considered to be prone to commit violent acts and tells them there’s a better way to make a living.

“My personal experience is that it led me nowhere,” he said.

Those walking Friday offered peaceful solutions to conflicts and information about available programs that can help provide resources to people who need them. Their hope is to break a violent cycle that often ends in death.

“We could be doing so many other different things, but we’re going to get out here in these streets, put on our tennis shoes, our Chucks. We’re going to walk these streets and talk to the folks and let them know I’m just like them,” Shaw said.

The group’s first stop was in the 600 block of Morningview Street. A car riddled with bullets and huge piles of trash could be seen in the area. Outreach leaders said these are the types of streets that are most at risk for recurring violence.

“We’re hoping to bring about a new culture,” Henderson said.

Shaw and Henderson said the East Side’s negative past and present don’t have to dictate the future.

Shaw said a program called the Second Chance Initiative is in the works. It’s designed to help those who have had trouble with the law get jobs.

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