Residents, Police Team Up to Fight Crime in San Bernardino

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    A meeting was held to talk about how to drop crime. Gadi Schwartz reports from San Bernardino for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, 2014. (Published Thursday, April 3, 2014)

    Residents, city officials and police held a meeting on Thursday to try and solve a vexing neighborhood problem -- dropping crime in a tough San Bernardino neighborhood.

    The plan is simple. City leaders are asking people to speak up and help police.

    San Bernardino Residents Discuss Crime Initiative

    [LA] San Bernardino Residents Discuss Crime Initiative
    Tired of the frequent crime that has plagued their San Bernardino neighborhood for years, residents gathered on Thursday to discuss a plan that would encourage witnesses to speak up. Tony Shin reports from San Bernardino for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, 2014. (Published Thursday, April 3, 2014)

    Frankie Lopez has lived in the neighborhood her entire life. Even during the day, she said, she’s afraid to walk alone.

    "You don't know when somebody's going to drive by, when there's going to be a shooting," Lopez said.

    Two years ago her 19-year-old cousin was killed in the neighborhood.

    Sick of the never ending violence, the man’s mother, Elva Elizarraraz, moved away.

    "When I hear about someone getting shot in the area... It's devastating," Elizarraraz said.

    Robert Nieto was shot multiple times last December after telling someone not to walk in his front yard.

    Business owners are sick of the crime.

    Gloria Ramos, a florist, said there’s a lot of graffiti and break-ins nearby.

    Since Jan. 1, San Bernardino police responded to 184 crimes in this neighborhood -- more than 50 of them violent. Compare that to another neighborhood a few miles away, which had 68 crimes -- 14 violent.

    "Police have the resources that they have,” said Benito Barrios, a San Bernardino City Councilman. “But we can be an asset to them by being the eyes and ears."

    Barrios said police can’t do it alone. They need residents’ help. But it’s tough when they’re too afraid to come forward, he said.

    A recent survey by the nonprofit group Institute for Public Strategies, found that 75 percent of community members are reluctant to help each other.

    "We need to drop those numbers and increase the community connectedness," said Sandra Espadas with the Institute for Public Strategies.

    Lopez agrees.

    "I think everyone needs to stand up and take a stand,” Lopez said.

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