NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The area of 40th and Clifton used to be known as “the jungle” because of the high crime rates.
But on Saturday, with the help of the West Nashville precinct officers and two local churches, it was renamed “the park.”
“Traditionally neighborhoods like this is what you’d call overpoliced. Where we come in and make traffic stops, and arrests. And now the goal was to come in and work with the community and build relationships with them to work with them to help solve the issues that were going on in the neighborhood,” Sgt. Jason Picanzo said.
Metro Police say crime in that area is now down 46-percent over the last two years since officers began investing in community engagement.
The Fraternal Order of Police and a local business donated the funds to build neighbors an outdoor area to enjoy, now that they feel comfortable to be outside in their community.
“We want them to have a place to gather. Because of them this is a safe neighborhood. And so they feel comfortable sitting outside now. Before they didn’t. Last year one of them told us, they lived here 40 years, they had their first trick or treaters in 40 years. And it’s because it’s a safe neighborhood,” Picanzo said.
Picanzo said it was a community effort to bring this project to life.
Volunteers built a gazebo for residents in West Nashville. They also cleaned up trash from the neighborhood, refenced the area and planted flowers.
“That’s what we hope to gain here is a picture of unity. Someone once told me there’s no white race, there’s no black race, there’s no brown race, there’s a human race. It’s one race. And we’ve got to work together to start solving the issues that are causing us to be divided.” Picanzo said.