Just north of where Thursday’s fatal shooting that killed 21-year old Leroy Gordon III occurred are neighborhoods full of single family homes that have kept people around for decades.
“I’ve lived here over 17 years,” said James Singleton.
“I’ve been here about 20 years,” said Victor Castro.
Many say they feel safe in their own homes, but agree areas where larger groups gather can be trouble.
“My eight and ten year old can walk around, but certain times of night there are different elements,” said Ricky Gross.
“You need the cops to watch for that because that’s where the trouble starts when you get a bunch of them together,” said Singleton.
The Des Moines Police Special Enforcement Team did focus on the neighborhoods north of Forrest Avenue from April to September and made 36 arrests.
Residents say they noticed the extra effort.
“Just seeing them, people know. People know,” said Gross.
“As soon as something is going on, they get their pretty quick,” Castro told Channel 13 News.
Sergeant Steve Woody says the special enforcement team would be valuable year round, but it can stretch manpower thin.
“When you take seven patrol watchers off, that’s seven less officers available to respond to trips. It’s a juggling game and our chief looks at it and decides the best hours of operation,” said Woody.
Because of the shooting, police plan to take a second look at increasing patrols in the area.
Whether it’s a special enforcement team or not, residents hope to continue seeing some police presence in the winter.
“They’ll beef up for a while then they’ll stop. Financially it hurts the city, but it’s something you need to do,” said Singleton.
This isn’t the first incident in the neighborhoods north of Forrest Avenue since the special enforcement team disbanded. In late September, there were several drive-by shootings.
Polk County Crime Stoppers is offering an award of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in Thursday’s shooting.