TEMPLE - Several hundred people came out to Wilson Park Saturday for the East by North East Community showcase -- a community event created to improve the east side.
Temple's east side residents saw around 160 home burglaries and 120 vandalism cases in 2016. 2017 has been better, with only 80 burglaries and 39 vandalism cases committed thus far. The Temple police departments said the decrease is due to a greater focus on local youth. Now, they are working to get more people involved in neighborhood associations to continue the trend.
"We've been approached by neighborhoods on the east side about trying to get youth out of the criminal activity they've done such as burglaries or criminal mischief and try to find a positive alternative to that," Temple Sgt. Tim Simeroth said "That's where the neighborhood associations are coming into play."
East by North East was organized by the East Side Affiliates, and was supported by the Temple Police Department and the City of Temple. The city is taking the lead on the neighborhood associations, which they see as the key to restoring local communities.
"Where there are neighborhoods that are old or worn down, they affect the economic disposition of the whole city," Resource Coordinator Bobby Johnson said. "If one area goes down, they affect all the other areas."
Once a community forms an association, the City of Temple will help them with volunteer support, tools that people can check out, and a variety of material donations. The city hopes that people will take advantage of those resources and clean up their properties. If the properties are not taken care of, associations can reach out to Temple Code Compliance to get the ball rolling.
The city is currently looking for neighborhood champions to form the new associations.
If you would like to get involved, contact Temple Community Development.
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