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Crime Trackers: South Side officers use community policing tacti - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Crime Trackers: South Side officers use community policing tactics to connect with residents

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A South Side neighborhood center designed to help people needed some help themselves.

Residents said homeless people and criminal activity was taking over El Pueblo Neighborhood Center until Tucson Police stepped in and cleaned it up.

Anna Sanchez is the librarian at El Pueblo. She said every morning when she walked into the building she saw homeless people lining the sidewalks.

“They had their bed rolls, their blankets, they would be just waking up.”

They would also find evidence of people urinating and defecating because the rest rooms were locked.

“So, they were using just the outdoors for their facilities.”

During the center's working hours she added, they witnessed a lot of drug activity, and young people overdosing.

El Pueblo Neighborhood center is the lifeline for residents on the South Side. People come to the center for senior activities, health care and after-school activities, including help with homework.

“It's a quality-of-life issue. If you want to go to a place and seek services, you don't want to be walking past people laying on the sidewalk or defecation on the walls,” said Captain Bob Wilson. 

He heads Operation Division South. News 4 Tucson obtained stats that show from April 1, to Sept. 30, they had nearly 300 calls for service.

Tucson police also arrested 55 people during that time.

Wilson said the area is a hot spot because of the Laos Transit Center next door, and the clientele of some of the nearby agencies.

Now, officers are getting out of their patrol cars, walking the beat and getting to know folks.  He said they are really focusing on community policing.

After speaking with some neighborhood residents, Sgt. William Corrales and Officer J.J. Flores discovered homeless people were living on the roof of a nearby building.

“It was great information, great tool box of goodies that were in there that we used to combat the criminal activity that was occurring here,” Corrales said.

Anna Sanchez said she's seen a big difference.

“I just appreciate everything that's been done.  And it's really helped to make this center vibrant and to make it available for those in the community who really need it.”

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