Community members are taking action to help make the Decoto district safer with the launching of a new neighborhood watch program.
The program will be the first based in the heart of the historically troubled neighborhood, organizers said.
Leaders from Congregations Organizing for Renewal and are inviting the public to attend a presentation from the Union City Police Department's Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving unit, to be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the church.
“We’re really targeting [Decoto] to get participation,” said Susana Peinado, a COR organizer and Decoto resident for eight years. “We really want to build the community and be watchful of what happens in our neighborhood.”
It’s something police and local leaders such as Father Jose Leon, who leads Our Lady of the Rosary Church, have wanted for years, but it wasn’t until last year when COR really began to push for the Decoto program, Peinado said.
As COR became involved with the city’s Youth Violence Prevention and Intervention Program, COR leaders started to meet with Sgt. Matias Pardo, who heads the COPPS unit and oversees the Neighborhood Watch program.
“Recently, it’s been more on our minds because of the recent hike in violence,” Peinado said.
The neighborhood has experienced a plague of shootings in recent months, starting with the fatal shooting of on May 14. That was followed by the fatal shooting of just three days later. On June 26, a man was critically wounded in a shooting and on July 28, .
Most recently, a teenager was in the early hours of Aug. 24.
COR leaders hope the new Neighborhood Watch program will help curb future acts of violence in the area, Peinado said.
Currently, community organizers are seeking a Neighborhood Watch captain to lead the Decoto group. They hope Tuesday’s meeting will encourage more people to get involved, Peinado said.
The Decoto Neighborhood Watch program meeting will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 703 C St., Union City.