MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - They felt overrun by drugs and prostitution, but now residents in Minneapolis' Phillips neighborhood are feeling free again.
“During the day, at least I can say we don’t have to worry about patrolling or securing the block, picking up needles or kids being outside,” resident Tania Rivera said.
It was just two weeks ago that residents were on a 24-hour watch behind barricades they put in place in the area of 18th Avenue South and 29th Street East. They were holding signs as their fight against criminal infestation just got underway.
“Once they realized we were not gonna back down, that we were serious and we were taking back our street, they have since sort of backed off a little bit,” resident Rachel Glover said.
In fact, Rachel said the block has now given them all new life and new friends because they’re no longer afraid.
“My kids have, like, 20 new best friends because we’ve met kids, I’ve met neighbors. I’ve lived here for going on two to three years, and there are people I had never had the opportunity to meet because we were all in our houses or in our backyards,” she said.
“We can now walk freely in the street, be in the front steps and just live like regular people without unusual, unrealistic concerns of safety, violence, drugs and all that in our presence,” Tania added.
Since FOX 9 was last in the area, the barricades have changed a bit; they’re now sort of semi-permanent, with residents actually setting the posts in dirt and concrete.
The city and police worked with the residents to come up with a barricade that still allowed emergency crews easy access but provided the security residents feel they need.
“We feel this is the goal of what community policing looks like, working in tandem with police officers but not relying solely on them because, as we know, there’s a huge burden on MPD right now, and there’s a lot going on there. There’s a lot going on with city council as well,” said.
Efforts have been so successful on this block, other areas with crime spikes are now asking them for ideas to begin a fight of their own.