SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Community activists are calling for changes to be made that focus on violence prevention and uplifting communities after a string of shootings in Southeastern San Diego.
Over the last several weeks, residents have walked out to crime scenes and a significant police presence in their neighborhoods, like Mount Hope and Mountain View.
In communities like Mt. Hope and Mountain View, constant shootings have devastated communities and broken families.
"People are concerned about people losing their lives, but also that the violence is not being addressed in the right ways," said Malcolme Muttaqee, a community activist and organizer. "The ways it's been addressed for as long as we can remember, it hasn't really yielded any results."
Muttaqee and Tasha Williamson, another community activist, say new approaches need to be taken to get to the root cause of the problem and bring needed resources back into these communities.
"It's got to be more than just policing; it's got to be about really making communities whole," said Williamson.
They say these neighborhoods and the residents who live there have been neglected for too long. Saturday, they met with other community members to come up with long-term solutions; they said they would like to see some city funding be re-allocated to these areas to increase the quality of life.
"To youth centers, to travel abroad opportunities, to trauma-informed care, mental health services," said Muttaqee. "Me myself, I grew up playing at Willie Henderson Sports complex, there has not been one update since I was 5-years-old, 6-years-old to that rec center, you have a whole new generation of children with no resources, with nowhere to go to spend their leisurely time."
San Diego City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, who represents District 9, was initially scheduled to go to that meeting with just a few residents of Mountain View who live near recent shootings and have concerns about the area. For a few reasons, he canceled when a larger group planned to attend. He said he still met with a few residents separately.
He said to have a broader discussion about the violence and solutions, it would be best to include a variety of community leaders and elected officials. A spokesperson for his office added that the room booked for the meeting could not accommodate the larger group that planned to attend.
But he agrees that more resources need to be put back into these neighborhoods, especially for the youth.
"My budget priority memo this year laid out a variety of investments that can be made that have been proven to reduce violence in communities. I'm a former high school coach and have been an advocate for and with youth for a long time. The investments in our young people, giving them positive opportunities to engage with, in the short and long term is something that benefits us all. So I put that down top of mind when it came to reducing violence in our communities," he said.
"There's a big difference between response or reaction and prevention, and what I would like us to get to is a place of prevention through holistic investment in our communities, especially for young people."