Violence on GR street slows after block watch formed

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As a violent spike in Grand Rapids continues, the city is seeing a near record number of homicides this year taking place all over the city.

Could an old fashion block watch be a solution? One block says it’s working for them.

“We are not going to deal with it,” said Linda McIntosh. “They (the shooters) are not going to run us away. We own our homes. We are not leaving.”

McIntosh is the president of her block watch on Prince Street. She has lived there for more than 20 years and watched the neighborhood evolve. She welcomes the young families, but this recent change is unwelcome.

“Wake you up. Yeah it wakes you up,” said McIntosh of the sound of gun shots.

Drive-by shootings are now happening on her street. She says last month was the last straw.

“Because the police found 21 shells in the street,” she said.

No one was injured, but homes were hit, and anyone could have been a victim.

“One thing I love about my neighbors: We all work together. When there is something going on, we work together because we’re not going to let anyone come in and take our block,” McIntosh said.

So, she put together a block watch. A phone log was formed, neighbors put up block watch signs and added lights and cameras. Since then, she says the shootings have slowed. The people of Prince Street are working with police to keep it that way.

“A lot of people are afraid. They are afraid to say anything, but that’s why it’s best to have a neighborhood association,” McIntosh said. “So if you are afraid to talk, you can go to her and she can say it for you and they will never know where it came from.”

If you would like to start a block watch in your neighborhood, contact crime prevention coordinator Marian Barrera-Young at 616.426.6273 or youngbarrera@aol.com.

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