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'Need you to speak out': Local leaders tell residents how they can help prevent crime

From a drive-by shooting injuring four men at a barbershop to two people killed outside a bar, residents want to know what's driving the boost in crime.

SAN ANTONIO — The recent string of violent crime across San Antonio has residents frustrated and wondering what’s going on.

Donna Watts-Lewis is among those curious residents who’s an active member of the Southeast Neighborhood Association,

“You know, people don’t fist fight anymore. Their first thing they do is pull out guns,” Watts-Lewis said. “It’s just sad.”

It’s an all-too common reality seen not just in San Antonio but across the state and country. The U.S. has eclipsed 6,000-gun deaths so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The data indicates 414 teenagers were killed and 344 of the shootings were defensive in nature.

“Just a horrible world we live in but there are still a lot of great people around and those are the people you want to try to protect,” Watts-Lewis said.

Wednesday’s District 3 public safety meeting attracted dozens of residents to have their voices heard on several issues regarding a variety of crime.

“Risky behavior is what drives our violent crime,” said SAPD Chief William McManus, who stressed there are exceptions to what’s contributing to violent offenses across the city.

He noted being involved in gangs, engaging in illegal drug activity and solicitation of prostitution, are all potential recipes for potential disaster.  

Phyllis Viagran: “We also need you to speak out to your county officials and say hey it’s not okay for people with criminal histories, extensive criminal histories, to get bonded out as quickly as they do,” said Phyllis Viagran, who serves as San Antonio’s District 3 city council member.

Watts-Lewis stressed the importance of community involvement by attending neighborhood association meetings, getting to know local law enforcement, and signing up on the Nextdoor social media app to stay connected with fellow neighbors.

“You got good people and bad people everywhere and in order to weed the bad people out, you gotta let the police know who they are. It’s not like you’re snitching or telling on anyone. You’re just trying to live in a safe community,” Watts-Lewis said.

As made apparent this week, violent crime happens in all areas of San Antonio. Lewis just hopes there’s a growing community push to end the bloodshed.

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