Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Carver Heights - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ursula Madden

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Carver Heights

A Raleigh man is on a mission to take back his neighborhood.

Thomas Sanders is determined not to let crime run him out of the home he loves, where generations of his family have lived.

He's says he's deeply concerned about what has happened to his neighborhood in the Carver Heights community of Raleigh. "We hear gunshots at night, motorcycles racing...people come here and they have sex in the driveway or the open field here." He continues, "We run them out, and the police have been better about making patrols - but some of the abandoned houses - we need to have someone do something with them."

Out of the 11 houses on Sanders' street, four of them are abandoned properties that he says harbor criminal activity, including prostitution and drug use and sales. And it's clear to see that the properties have become dumping sites.

The one vacant house on the block that's for sale has been stripped by thieves and troubled by incidents.

"Saturday, we had to call 911," Sanders said. "There were some people in there and we heard gunshots. We don't know exactly what went on, and by the time police got here - which was really quickly - they were already gone."

Sanders is doing everything in his power to deter crime. He has blocked both the driveway in front of the empty house and the street that leads to the open field with rail ties. He has also hounded MLGW to fix the overhead street lights. "It's more of a problem at the end, because there is no other light and it's pitch black," he said.

Sanders said he has received an excellent response from his city council representative, Bill Morrison, who has spoken with code enforcement officials, They're aware of the problem on Sanders' street, but the process is slow. The councilman is also talking with MLGW to fix the street lights.

Sanders said the Memphis Police Department has stepped up patrols, though he'd like to see more officers.

But, he says, real change will require the help of his neighbors in Carver Heights. "If we want to change our community, we have to do those things from within. We can't expect people come from without the community to make that difference - just to help us."

Sanders said he plans to ask his neighbors for help. "Rather than run away like a lot of people do because they just don't want to have to deal with it, and want to stay here an raise my family and have something for my children's children."

This week, Sanders will hand out flyers for a community meeting to take back his neighborhood.

Click here to e-mail Ursula Madden. 

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