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Chicagoans credit "Don't Shoot Kids At Play" signs for drop in gun violence

CHICAGO -- Residents have posted signs that say, "Don't Shoot Kids At Play" on the South Side of Chicago and according to them - they're working, reports CBS Chicago.

The handmade signs have gone up in recent months in the Englewood neighborhood on the city's South Side, in a grassroots attempt to do battle against gun violence.

Kaliah Larr, who walks pasts the signs every day on her way home, says it's helping. She told the station, "It's putting a message out there: if ya'll don't stop shooting now, how these kids gonna grow up? Before you couldn't sit out here 'cause you don't know...who's gonna shoot at whom."

Another resident, Yvonne Marshall, said she's now comfortable sitting on her front porch while her grandson plays outside the fence.

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One sign posted by residents of Chicago's Englewood neighborhood in an attempt to combat violence CBS Chicago

"I think the size makes the whole sign stand out," Marshall told CBS Chicago. "We want it to ring out loud and clear.

The message, according to the station, is meant for the street gangs who police say are responsible for most of the shootings. While it's not clear how much the signs are really making a difference, violent crime in the area has fallen off dramatically. Last year during the Fourth of July weekend, police say there were more than a dozen shootings in the area. This year: none.

Residents say they are confident the signs deserve a lot of the credit.

According to CBS Chicago, increased police patrols are also a factor, plus a closed-door meeting between suspected gang members and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy after a four-year-old was shot a few blocks away in May.

Police say they like the signs and they give the community a lot of credit for helping reduce the number of shootings in the neighborhood. In addition to the signage, they applaud the mothers and fathers who walked the streets last weekend, talking to teens asking them to put down their guns and let the children grow up.

"I was so happy to wake up the next morning and hear that in Englewood no one had gotten shot and killed," Yvonne Marshall told CBS Chicago.