KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knoxville Police Department has taken the first step in an effort to make things safer in a part of the city notorious for armed robberies, as well as other crimes.
They have asked the city for permission to apply for a million dollar grant. If they get it, the Edward Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program Grant Award would help crime fighting efforts in the Fort Sanders neighborhood by UT's campus.
According to KPD, crime is actually down in that area. But people living and working in the Fort Sanders say they do not feel safe.
"It was last Tuesday. Our driver went and delivered some food. He was coming back from dropping the food off, and got robbed at knife point," described Jason Graver, who works at Jimmy John's on Cumberland Avenue.
"Fort Sanders in general, it's pretty bad when we deliver out there. A lot of our drivers carry screwdrivers and hammers in their boxes with the food. We're constantly looking over our shoulder," Graver added.
At 6 News we report on these crimes on a regular basis.
"I feel like if we get awarded this grant, it'll provide a way for us to create some new initiatives to make that community safer," explained Darrell DeBusk, with KPD.
If they are even approved to get the cash, creating a game plan would be several months away.
"What we would do is put a committee together of stake holders in that area. We'd look at the different types of crimes. What we see the most. And what we can target most cost effectively," DeBusk said, about what they would ideally like to see happen.
People in the Fort Sanders neighborhood tell us, right now, any progress would be an improvement.
"I mean, it can't get any worse," Graves said.
KPD already applied for the same grant last year, but lost to larger metros. This year they are more hopeful.