‘We just want to feel heard’: Neighbors in Westwood Square say they want more police presence

Crime is a top concern for neighbors, according to neighborhood association

SAN ANTONIO – Neighbors in Westwood Square say they often feel forgotten. There’s no exception when it comes to crime and safety.

San Antonio police and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office stopped by Westwood Square’s San Antonio Neighbors Together event on Oct. 3. Several neighborhoods across the city held their own events.

It’s a stop neighbors welcomed, but said was too few and far between.

The event provided an opportunity for residents to share some of their concerns.

“We have a lot of Mexican culture,” said Jose Garcia, the manager of El Compa Tire Shop near Highway 90 and Cupples Road.

Westwood Square is a tight-knit community.

“It’s changing for the better,” said neighbor Stephanie Wilson.

But they feel unseen and overlooked on the West Side.

“Drugs, some violence here, break-ins, burglaries,” said Toni Peña, who said she grew up in the neighborhood.

“A lot of gun violence, too,” added Marie Palomo. “I’m really not out late at night because of that situation.”

Neighbors in Westwood Square said they look out for each other.

“They keep an eye and make sure nobody goes that’s not supposed to be there,” Wilson said.

SAPD’s community crime map shows there were three aggravated assaults, 10 drug violations, and a burglary in the first nine months of 2023.

In June, San Antonio police say someone shot a man in the arm outside of his home in Westwood Square.

Community Crime Map for Westwood Square. (SAPD)

But those numbers could be below Westwood Square’s actual crime rate.

Velma Peña, president of the neighborhood association, said neighbors are often scared to report crime. She said some worry they’ll be retaliated against by police or other neighbors for making reports.

She said many neighbors don’t know the officers patrolling the streets.

KSAT reached out to San Antonio police three times in the last month to ask how the department is efforting community policing in Westwood Square.

A police spokesperson said residents can look up their SAFFE officer in an online directory, but did not directly answer the question or agree to an interview.

“We aren’t going to be able to accommodate this request at this time,” replied Sgt. Washington Moscoso in a Sept. 6 email.

KSAT followed up and asked if someone with SAPD could be made available over the next month to talk about how the department is working to build trust with neighbors in Westwood Square.

SAPD did not respond to that request.

“We just want to feel heard too, and we are important,” said Toni Peña. “This is [just like] any other part of town.”

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About the Authors:

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.