Little Rock group hopes to fight crime by repairing neighborhoods

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – A new group in Little Rock is hoping to help areas where crime is the hardest to tackle by repairing homes.

The new program, AmeriCorps Neighborhood Safety Corps, is made possible through a grant awarded to the city by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The group will update home security and save homeowners money through energy efficiency. But the main focus will be rehabilitating homes through repairs such as fixing porches or adding railings.

And this effort will help people like Gregory Wilson who couldn’t be happier to see the group at work.

“It’s a blessing to have them come in and do this work,” said Wilson.

Modeled after a successful program in Detroit, the AmeriCorps Neighborhood Safety Corps program will combat crime by helping potential victims be proactive.

“It’s going to help to transform not just an individual home but to help transform neighborhoods,” said Mayor Mark Stodola.

After looking at crime statistics and unsafe and vacant house information, seven target areas across the city were chosen to focus on for improvement.

“We tried to look at the city as a whole look at areas with single family housing and higher than average burglary rates,” said Little Rock Police Assistant Chief Alice Fulk.

The team of 30 participants will work on at least 100 homes a year over the next three years.

“We know the police can’t do it all by themselves and we think this is an excellent opportunity to join forces in reducing crime in Little Rock,” said Victor Turner, Director of Housing and Neighborhood Programs.

Aside from a stipend, the participants with AmeriCorps are given a $5,000 scholarship to go to a school or college.

© 2017 KTHV-TV