For months, a Violent Crimes Task Force has been hard at work in east San Antonio, trying to build a better community.
More than two dozen Department of Public Safety personnel have been on east San Antonio streets, targeting suspicious activity and helping arrest wanted felons.
DPS troopers are patrolling the streets, along with San Antonio Police Officers, and people who live in the area say they are a welcome addition.
Maria Delagarza, who has lived in east San Antonio for 25 years, said she is proud of her neighborhood, but she is grateful for the increased patrols.
“We saw them and we wondered what was going on, because in a little stretch of W.W. White, there were like ten DPS Troopers!” Delagarza said.
Neighbor Dan Martinez, who has been a passionate member of the Crime Commission for many years, said the new efforts are part of a hopeful trend.
“Now we see more and more younger people stepping up and turning people in and providing more information and getting engaged, which is a good thing,” Martinez said.
Martinez said because the area is growing, it is more important than ever to make safety a priority. “I’m very encouraged that we’re going to get a handle on reducing criminal activity on our east side, particularly because it’s growing,” Martinez said.
Delagarza added, "If we're going to have more law enforcement people, that's good, it's good for the community."
The Task Force was launched in January of 2017. While hard numbers about their efforts are not available at this time, some say this is a change that is driving an economic boom.
"There's so many things going on, it's hard to keep up with them," Jackie Gorman of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside said.
Pointing to the brand-new Baldwin Apartments, which are about ready for occupancy, Gorman said, "Just behind us we have over 300 apartments going in and it’s really exciting to think about these new apartments, but what’s even more exciting to me is that half of them are going to be affordable to people making at least 80 percent of the area median income."
Gorman said welcoming newcomers is important, but so is making sure that long-time residents are protected. “We need to make sure that we are bringing these new developments into our community and we don’t price out people who have lived in this community for generations,” Gorman said.
Citing new ventures like Merchants Ice House, the Friedrich Lofts, Essex Modern and a proposal to re-invigorate the Sutton building, Gorman said excitement is in the air.
“There’s so many things going on it’s hard to keep up with them,” Gorman said, adding, “It’s a great problem to have, but it’s something we have to be very intentional about.”
The SAGE website has more information about doing business in east San Antonio.
Through March 2018, DPS alone has made 1,917 arrests and 556 drug seizures, according to DPS spokesman Tom Vinger.