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LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — A neighborhood once known for gangs, graffiti and violent crimes is slowly turning a corner.
Last summer, Metro police and their community partners took back control of the block at Sunrise and 21st Street and year to date, crime is down an incredible 43% on that block.
But the issues here went beyond a police problem. Residents needed resources to get their lives on track and it's hoped this model can be duplicated in other parts of the valley.
"I've seen all types of stuff. Good and bad," says resident Nathaniel Thames. "I just want to go to work, support my family and be happy as much as I can."
For seven years, Thames says he's ridden a roller coaster of change in his neighborhood at Sunrise Street and 21st Street. Good times and bad, and this past year he's seen big improvements.
"Oh the crime is way down," stated Thames.
They're listening for a change. "They" are Metro police officers and community partners, such as Pastor Troy Oglesbee.
On foot and meeting with residents one-on-one. Finding out what residents need most. Whether it helps with a landlord or setting up at meetings.
Pastor Oglesbee even passes out diapers and donated clothing.
"As a man of faith, I don't come down here with my bible and beat people over the head and say you better believe in Jesus. It's just about me being present," says Pastor Oglesbee.
But it wasn't always like this, for years Sunrise Street and 21st Street have been a hotbed for crime, including homicides.
Metro Sgt. Steve Armbruster says last summer his officers decided chasing crime wasn't enough. They became invested in this community, problem-solving, and building trust.
A community event last weekend, included a job fair, cookout, and block party for families.
"You have a ticket and it's hurting you, and whether you pay it or go to warrant or feed your children, the city courts will work with you on that," says Sgt. Armbruster.
They're also working with property owners to rehab rundown apartments. A 7-Unit building is almost ready. While down the street, Thames is helping gut and restore, another.
"We got some good people on this block too," said Thames.
Good people who are taking back Sunrise Street and 21st Street.