Organizers of a new Children’s Neighborhood Blockwatch said their community’s problem precedes the killing of 15-year-old Kaewaun Coleman.
But Coleman’s death has added a new urgency to their effort.
It’s a small, but committed group that met Thursday night in a church basement.
“We got to do something. We got to make a change,” said Rev. Dale Snyder, Bethel AME Church.
The group is driven by the grief of a child from their neighborhood being cut down by gunfire.
“This is an urgent matter. No 15-year-old should be killed coming from school,” added Snyder.
Snyder leads Bethel AME Church which is located across the street from where Coleman was killed January 17.
He's leading the effort to establish a Children's Neighborhood Blockwatch.
“Right now, the community is being terrorized at 2:30, every time these young people get out of school, and it shouldn't be that way. There's property damage, there's fights breaking out every single day,” added Snyder.
The bad behavior is being fueled by fear, according to Snyder.
“They're afraid of each other. They're afraid of the prostitution in this neighborhood. They're afraid of the drug dealers and activity in the neighborhood,” he said.
The plan is to focus on the area around Linden McKinley High School, patrolling Dresden, Duxberry, and East 26th near the Cleveland Avenue McDonalds near where Coleman was killed.
“If we can have people posted there, we can help break the crowds up, get the kids on their way,” said Snyder.
The simple goal is to get students home safely, before another child is lost.
Organizers plan to begin the patrols the second week in March.
A 15-year-old and a 17-year-old are charged in Coleman's murder. It has not yet been decided whether they will be tried as adults or juveniles.
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