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Neighborhood comes together to clean up blight in an effort to fight crime

The community came together Friday, March 26, 2021 to cleanup a blighted area on Clanton Street...
The community came together Friday, March 26, 2021 to cleanup a blighted area on Clanton Street in Shreveport, La.(KSLA)
Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 3:45 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - In an effort to fight crime and provide more economic opportunities in District B, Councilwoman LeVette Fuller is cleaning up her district.

Experts says one way to reduce crime in neighborhoods is by reducing blight. Fuller is doing this with the help of the Shreveport Volunteer Network. On Friday, March 26, a crew of volunteers went out to remove trash and trees from a vacant property in the 1900 block of Clanton Street.

The community came together Friday, March 26, 2021 to cleanup a blighted area on Clanton Street...
The community came together Friday, March 26, 2021 to cleanup a blighted area on Clanton Street in Shreveport, La.(KSLA)
The community came together Friday, March 26, 2021 to cleanup a blighted area on Clanton Street...
The community came together Friday, March 26, 2021 to cleanup a blighted area on Clanton Street in Shreveport, La.(KSLA)

“Crime is reduced when blight is removed,” Fuller said.

Experts say vacant properties become a haven for criminals and violent activity.

“Studies have shown in a lot of metropolitan areas that when blight is cleaned up that you actually see the violent crime and gunshots reduced,” Fuller said.

Micheal Walters, 15, lives in the neighborhood and finished his homeschool work a day early just so he could help out. His help led to a outpouring of support for him. He was helping to clean up while wearing his church clothes, and someone saw this on Facebook and came out to give him some better work attire so he wouldn’t get his church clothes messy.

“I would say most of the violence is because of young kids and young people have guns in the wrong hands,” he said.

Patricia Gordon says she admires his hard work and wanted to give back to him.

“I saw this young man out here in his church shoes and church pants and they say he needs some work boots and I said I can do that. I can’t physically get out here and help but I can do that,” she said.

Shreveport Volunteer Network outreach coordinator Keith Bryant says it takes a village and his goal is to recruit other teenagers.

“We wanted to introduce young men like Michael here on what it’s like to get out and use a chain saw, heavy equipment gives them a different environment,” he said.

Another cleanup will take place Saturday, March 27, at 8 a.m. at Hattie Perry Park.

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