A group of Sherman Park residents met with city leaders and law enforcement officials Sunday to create a citizens patrol force they hope will keep criminals out of their community.
Two weeks after violent protestors torched area businesses following a fatal police shooting, homeowners and people who rent properties in the area are taking matters into their own hands.
“We live in such a beautiful and diverse neighborhood,” said Sherry Watson, a member of the Sherman Park Citizens Patrol, “There’s just been a lot of fear lately and we want to make sure our residents are safe.”
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After the protests became destructive, residents are left with the task of rebuilding the neighborhood, along with thinking of ways to prevent another outbreak.
“You can’t judge a community by a few bad apples,” resident Barry Givens said.
Givens has been a Sherman Park resident for 35 years, and decided to attend Sunday’s meeting to show his support for the neighborhood.
“There are so many good things about this neighborhood, and we’re not going to let one incident overshadow what this community is all about,” Givens said.
An overwhelming majority of people in attendance at the meeting were in favor of forming the citizen’s patrol program.
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Two people will be paired in a car day and night, interacting with residents and reporting any suspicious activity to police.
“If we can improve safety and give people a better perception of safety, we think the whole neighborhood will be better for everybody,” Sherman Park Resident Jim Hiller said.
Volunteers must be 21 years old and pass a police background check.
Organizers say 68 homeowners have signed up so far.