OMAHA, NE – The gloves are off in a north Omaha neighborhood as residents band together to stop increasing crime. They met up at Wakonda Elementary with police in an effort to take back their streets.
“The reason for the meeting tonight is because our neighborhood has turned into a war zone,” said Robert Allen. “We have shootings, and within the past three weeks a drive by on 46th and Redick. We also had individuals who were part of the gang robbing people arrested at 48th and Curtis.”
Neighbors from 42nd Street to 51st Street along north Curtis Avenue want to start citizen patrols and increase communication among residents and with police.
“To me they're at least interested. They want to talk. And that's the beginning of change---conversation,” said Jacque Brown who owns a business in the neighborhood.
Brown and Allen contacted police and went door-to-door to with more than 300 flyers asking residents to join Wednesday’s conversation.
“We can offer them communication about what's going on in the neighborhood. We can offer them support,” said Capt. Shayna Ray with Omaha’s northwest police precinct.
Ray said word has already gotten out; affecting police calls in the area.
“They have been very vocal about this movement in this area, and the past week, the crime has really cleared out,” she said.
Neighborhood patrols often target blocks. Allen told the group residents are considering a citizen patrol, which can cover greater areas. In some cases residents patrol the streets, some are armed, and others are not.
“Each one of us can make a difference, and all of us coming together as a neighborhood today shows we care,” said Brown.
Police say the tips from neighbors have also helped them make recent arrests in the neighborhood.