Recent shootings leave Mechanicsville residents worried

Recent shootings leave Mechanicsville residents worried crime will return to bad old days

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The College Homes Public Housing Apartments were torn down in 1998. The College Homes Public Housing Apartments were torn down in 1998.
"It's really a shame that somebody has to lose their life," Fred Battle said. "You can be at home and just step out the door and get your life taken away. That's really awful." "It's really a shame that somebody has to lose their life," Fred Battle said. "You can be at home and just step out the door and get your life taken away. That's really awful."
"It should be shocking when something like that happens in your community," Rev. Dr. John A. Butler said. "It should not be a normal thing." "It should be shocking when something like that happens in your community," Rev. Dr. John A. Butler said. "It should not be a normal thing."

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Figures from the Knoxville Police Department show crime has gone down in Mechanicsville since the demolition of former public housing apartments, but residents told 6 News last week's double shootings leave them worried about the future.

Mechanicsville resident Fred Battle told 6 News the community was shocked by last week's drive-by shooting that left a mother of four dead, which happened just a few hours after a shooting at the Ridgebrook Apartments less than a half mile away.

"It's really a shame that somebody has to lose their life," Battle said. "You can be at home and just step out the door and get your life taken away. That's really awful."

KPD said Mechanicsville saw a significant drop in crime after the former College Homes Public Housing Apartments were torn down in 1998, though the exact crime rate figures aren't available that far back.

The apartments were replaced with duplexes and single-family homes as part of the federal Hope VI project.

"With the shootings last week, there is a concern of we don't want to go back to that being a normal occurrence," Rev. Dr. John A. Butler said.

Butler, a pastor at Clinton Chapel AME Zion Church on College Street, said residents have also been doing their part to combat crime.

He said a spike in shootings three years ago led the community to hold monthly neighborhood watch meetings.

Butler said there is still work to be done but the expectations are changing for the better.

"It should be shocking when something like that happens in your community," Butler said. "It should not be a normal thing."

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