Oakridge Neighborhood Residents Focus On Positivity

DES MOINES, Iowa – Crime in the Oakridge Neighborhood has made headlines for months. Since May: a homicide, a massive street fight, and now a pellet gun shooting injuring one, have all occurred on or around the apartment grounds.

“Yeah it was not good but things happen, what can do about it just gotta make this community a better place to live and a better place for the kids,” says Oakridge resident, Omjima Fella.

Since the beginning of June, Des Moines police have responded to the 339-unit apartment complex 68 times on various calls.

Amidst what she calls “seldom serious crime” Oakridge Neighborhoood CEO, Teree Caldwell-Johnson says the neighborhood represents more than violence.

“We’re no different than any other neighborhood in Des Moines. There are great things happening throughout this community and incredibly wonderful things happening on this campus. The fact that we have a few things that aren’t so positive, really doesn’t interrupt our ability to do the things we know are important for the kids and families we serve on this campus.”

The apartment complex hosts an 8 to 10 week summer program to keep kids engaged, educated and off the streets. Currently, there are 50 high schoolers enrolled in the “Summer Employment Program.”

“We are trying to keep them {other kids} off the street, do good, help them get a good education. That’s what were trying to do right now, make a change,” says high school student and resident, Ethiopia Khalifa.

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