SAN ANTONIO – District 3 City Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus held a town hall on public safety for the councilwoman’s constituents. The goal was to refine public-safety standards for the district.
Residents packed the South Side Lions Senior Center to voice their concerns. The town hall covered a wide variety of issues like homelessness, street racing, prostitution, drugs, and shootings.
“It’s just like birds chirping, it’s common to have shots going off,” was one of the comments made by a resident in attendance. “It’s getting worse, we used to have pride in taking care of our neighborhood,” said another resident.
The meeting was held less than 24 hours after a shooting on Anza Street near Pecan Valley Drive. The victim was caught on a doorbell video asking for help.
“Call the ambulance, please. I’m shot,” the unknown man in the video said as the homeowner opened the door.
The man stumbled to the door and had blood running down his arms. The homeowner said he was caught off-guard by the incident.
According to police, the man in the doorbell video was shot three times in the 6800 block of Pecan Valley. He stumbled a block away to Anza Street before police were called and he was taken to the hospital. Right now, police don’t have a description of the shooter or any details about what led up to the shooting.
McManus attributes the increased shootings to “risky behavior.”
“People looking at each other and don’t like the way they’re looking at them, arguments, disputes over whatever, it may be whether it’s drugs, or alcohol, or the last piece of brisket at the barbecue. People are shooting each other and it’s not slowing down,” said McManus, who did offer some potential solutions.
He explained that officers are consistently working and creating more micro-hotspots of high crime areas. They remove the ones that have been resolved and add new ones that come up. He mentioned a UTSA study by criminologists who are looking at ways to slow violent crime. He hopes that’ll be done by the end of the summer.
He added that the police substation will be up for vote on in the upcoming ballot.
“That’s further down the line, I’m looking for immediate change now,” said Angel Garza, who said the meeting was long overdue but added that more meetings are needed.
In a statement, Viagran said:
“Making our city safer means listening to the community. Our goal is to engage the District 3 residents in conversation to help the City refine public safety priorities. Community collaboration will be the key in moving the City forward.”