August 9, 2005
City police and concerned neighbors are out on the streets tonight in an on-going attempt to take back their neighborhoods. Up until about 3 years ago, the 700 block of Prospect Avenue in front of Blue Ridge Commons was one of the most crime-ridden in the city. Tonight the residents gathered to fight back.
"A community has said 'Enough. We are taking this seriously and the first step is going to be taking back what's ours'," said Police Chief Tim Longo.
And so was the theme of the Building on Hope Walk. The focus of this community action was the Orangedale and Prospect Neighborhoods. This area has battled crime for years, but tonight they sent a message.
"We are against crime and we are trying to pull together to bring peace where there is crime," said resident Valerie Laury.
With the help of community leaders, Charlottesville Police organized this walk. A group of nearly 200 gathered bringing together people from all walks of life.
"This itself, if you look around and see the different cultures that came out to support that, that is positive right there," said Chauncui Brown of the Abundant Life Ministry.
Residents say that a combination of police intervention and community involvement like this have begun to turn this area around.
"At one point it was a little rowdy. It was hard to sleep at night. Over the years it has calmed down and it is a whole lot better place to live," said resident James Morton.
"It has been changing for eight years. It is a whole lot better than it was eight years ago," said resident Curtis Thornton.
In the end, all believe this type of involvement sets the tone for the future of the neighborhood.
"It's the community that is the dominant force and the dominant scene in Prospect-Orangedale," said City Councilor Kevin Lynch.
This event is part of the continued community policing effort all across the city, an effort in which Chief Tim Longo believes will make a safer Charlottesville.