The death of 15-year-old Kaewaun Coleman has sparked a neighborhood effort to keep streets safe.
Coleman was killed on January 27 in a shooting during a fight not far from the Linden-McKinley STEM High School.
On Monday, the Linden Children’s Neighborhood Patrol took their first steps to making sure children got home safely.
Within a few minutes of taking their posts around the school, patrol leaders said they were able to break up a fight and alert police.
The patrol hopes their efforts will send a strong message to anyone who causes trouble in the neighborhood. The group is armed with two-way radios and yellow vests.
“Our goal is to create a safe haven for the kids as they get out of school,” explained Pastor Dale Snyder. “We want a safe place for them. When we met with them, a few weeks ago the things that bothered them were the pedophiles, the prostitution and some of the drugs activity that they've seen.”
Within the first 30 minutes on the job, the patrol was already making a difference.
Volunteers spotted a fight in an alley of Cleveland Avenue, and police were immediately dispatched to the scene.
Rev. Rodney Tolbert says he joined the patrol to take back his neighborhood.
“This is our neighborhood and we shouldn't let our neighborhood to be controlled by people who don't live here,” said Tolbert.
Parents, like Netta Gibson, said it was a good idea. Her daughter attends the high school. She hopes more parents get involved.
“They should have done this a long time ago. There's so much violence in these neighborhoods and these kids deserve a chance especially the good kids,” said Gibson. “They need to take back the neighborhood.”
If you want to join the patrol, you are asked to contact Derrick Russell at 294-1109.
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