East-side basketball league expands, hopes to curb crime

Group tackling east-side crime

So far this year, San Antonio's east side has already seen its share of crime. And now with summer here, there's a challenge to keep teenagers and young adults off the streets and out of trouble.

However, community leaders have a plan that might tackle the issue.

Tuesday night was the official tip off for another Eastside Promise Neighborhood midnight summer basketball league. That means, for the next seven weeks, teenagers and young adults will be spending their Friday and Saturday nights not on the streets, but on the basketball court.

For Coach Frank Barnes, the league is more than a game.

"Life skills, discipline, staying out of trouble, being a citizen," said Barnes, listing things besides basketball he thinks kids will learn by participating in the program.

For the past four years the league has taken teenagers and adults off the streets and into a positive environment at no cost to them.

"There's a number of things they could be doing. They could be getting into your house, getting into it with each other. There’s a number of things they could be doing outside of here that's not positive," Barnes said.

"It has been a pretty rough year for violence and crime," said Brandon Williams, one of the program’s coaches.

Williams is a coach and also plays in the adult league. He said that, without this, crime on the east side would be even worse than it already is. Because of the league’s growing popularity, this summer the program is expanding to three areas across the east side, with hundreds of players.

"If you could have something like this year round, you’d see a definite change in both the violence and drugs, crime, pretty much everything," Williams said.

On Tuesday, KENS 5 asked Councilman Alan Warrick why the league doesn’t expand to a year-round schedule. He said that it's something they're looking at, but they're waiting to look at data to see just how much crime is truly curbed.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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