Forest Park residents concerned about crime - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Forest Park residents concerned about crime

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Gunshots, car break-ins and robberies have residents in Springfield's Forest Park neighborhood worried about their safety.

Several dozen Forest Park residents met with the police commissioner and the city's public health and safety committee Tuesday night with concerns ranging from hearing gun shots in the middle of the night to dealing with stolen cars being abandoned on their front lawns.

"This is our neighborhood and we need to take it back," said Brenda Hodge, of Forest Park.

Hodge has lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and has no plans to move out, but wants some solutions from police.

"It's scary to wake up and look out your window and see something like that happening outside your house," she said.

She's had to call the police multiple times, seen drug transactions by her Riverview Street home and even had stolen cars dumped right in front of her house.

"Things stolen off my porch, my daughter had her car egged last week."

The City Council's public health and safety committee met with residents and police in Forest Park.

"The resources aren't where we'd like them to be but there are strategies that we can act on," said the chair of that committee and City Councilor Thomas Ashe.

They discussed options like creating neighborhood watches.

Forest Park and the "X" also has a specific group of officers known as the BADGE unit patrolling the streets.

"It's a group of dedicated officers. They made a big difference up here in Forest Park and we replicated it in Mason Square," said Springfield Police Commissioner William Fitchet.

The neighborhood is dealing with a crime problem. According to the police department's public arrest report, there have been eight arrests in the past three days in Forest Park for crimes like assault with a dangerous weapon and cocaine trafficking.

"We're going to try and attack those, address them. It's a continuing problem, it's a maintenance problem you can't come in and say, 'I solved it today,'" Fitchet said.

Despite the crime, Hodge says she'll continue to come to meetings like the one Tuesday to seek answers.

"I love Forest Park, I think it's a great neighborhood, great people live here, it's very diverse and I like that about it and I refuse to give it up."

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