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Crime concerns and solutions discussed for Washington Gardens

Washington Gardens residents packed the Housing Authority’s monthly meeting on Thursday to discuss crime and safety issues.

Sunday’s shooting death of 30-year-old Lavell Evans outside the Elkhart apartment complex has led to many concerned residents.

“I haven’t sat in my living room in over 6 months. I don’t feel safe.”

Washington Gardens resident of 6 years April Goodwin says outside her living room window she sees drug activity and hears gun shots fired.

 “It’s horrible,” said Goodwin.

Goodwin and dozens of her neighbors showed up to the Housing Authority meeting looking for a change.

They were joined by Mayor Tim Neese, the assistant fire chief, and the police chief.

“This many people coming forward and saying ‘we’re tired of this’ this is the right path,” said Elkhart Police Chief Edward Windbigler.

The lieutenant recently assigned to the Washington Gardens area also attended the meeting.

The board presented a few additional solutions they are working on.

The board says security cameras are in the works, something many residents have asked for.

A texting tip line and surveys are also on the agenda. Both would be anonymous, something the committee says is necessary for this community.

“We are going to work with you. We are going to find ways to make you feel comfortable with us and there’s a huge community of people here that care and are involved and you’re not alone,” said Commissioner Jason Moreno, Elkhart Housing Authority.

More members of the community are standing up including local church leaders.

“We are here to serve when anyone gets themselves into an issue that they themselves cannot handle,” Rev. Dannell Brown, Agape Missionary Baptist Church

Rev. Brown and other local church leaders vowed to volunteer their time patrolling Washington Gardens.

“I view it as our responsibility not only as the church but as the community to get involved,” said Rev. Brown.

It’s all this effort that has Goodwin feeling optimistic about her future at Washington Gardens.

“I hopeful and I do see if more of the community gets involved, if more of the community steps up and starts talking and starts doing more I do think it’ll clear up,” said Goodwin.

Thursday’s meeting was recorded by the Housing Authority who says they plan to re-watch the conversation and in a few weeks they will hold a follow-up meeting for the residents.

We will provide the information regarding the next meeting when it becomes available.

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