Broadway Heights serves as model for community involvement

Community maintains one of lowest number of crimes

SAN DIEGO - Southeast San Diego is an area often associated with violence, but one community is bucking the trend and showing the true meaning of getting involved.

Broadway Heights is north of Encanto, next to state Route 94. Robert Robinson, a community advocate and longtime Broadway Heights resident, told 10News, "We just don't live in million dollar homes, but we live in million dollar communities."

Broadway Heights is a community of 192 homes. Robinson's home serves as an unofficial central hub of the neighborhood.

"He's the type of person that you can go to for anything you need help with," said Justin Young, who grew up in Broadway Heights.

Young now leads the Broadway Heights Youth Council, which is part of the community council Robinson established more than two decades ago.

Through the council's efforts, they removed drug houses and are now working on a community solar project.

Instead of gangs, Young and others turned to involvement. A few years ago, he and others took a trip across America learning about the country's history. It was all funded through donations.

In Broadway Heights, you won't see kids loitering the streets. Instead, they worked to rename them. In 2010, the youth council took the initiative to rename Weston Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

"If you deal with the kids, you deal with the future problems you might incur," Robinson said.

"It occupies time because you have to commit to it and a lot of the things we do are teaching us good things like leadership," Young said.

Their methods seem to be working. Although it is the smallest community in Southeast San Diego, Broadway Heights consistently has the lowest number of crimes.

City statistics show since January 2007, only 14 violent crimes were reported in Broadway Heights -- one of the lowest in all of the city.

On the day 10News reporter Melissa Mecija returned to shoot more video of Broadway Heights, she found Barbara Robinson, Robert's wife, walking to a neighbor's house with flowers. Her neighbor was sick, so she wanted to cheer her up.

"It has gotten to where I know so many people in my neighborhood, and you normally don't. I love it here," Barbara Robinson said.

Robinson said Broadway Heights serves as a model for the entire county.

"The Broadway Heights neighborhood is one of the safest areas in the city of San Diego and it's because the community works so closely together," San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said in 2011.

"The people around the community are really good people. They just help you not to stray away because you're always doing something positive," Young said.

The next community event is a block party and Solarthon on Saturday, May 18, to promote bringing green energy to Broadway Heights.

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