SACRAMENTO — Sacramento city leaders Tuesday night approved spending millions of dollars to reduce crime in the Upper Land Park area where a little girl was murdered last year in a gun battle.
Patricia Villarreal has lived in the Seavey Circle public housing project for 20 years -- and she's seen an increase in crime.
"You don't feel safe here anymore," said.
Villarreal added, "it use to be nice. There was a time when you could go to sleep with your doors open, but not anymore."
It was one year ago that 7-year-old Isabel Agnes was shot and killed in that complex.
"She was caught in the crossfire of a family gunfight," said Sacramento City Councilmember Katie Valenzuela.
The young girl's murder is a crime that deeply impacted the Upper Land Park community.
"It's heart-wrenching and the goal is that never happens again," said Sharna Braucks, the CEO of the YMCA of Superior California.
The housing authority has tried various ideas to help fight crime over the years, including a controversial program that flew a surveillance drone over the neighborhood.
Now, city leaders want to spend $2.5 million on new safety efforts.
"This money is going to be transformative for the community," Valenzuela said.
Some of the funding will go toward a YMCA after-school program at the elementary school across the street where 100 percent of the kids come from low-income families.
"To give them fun, safe things to do rather than turn to vandalism, violence, drug and alcohol use and give them some healthy habits for their future," Braucks said.
It will also fund park improvements, youth sports programs and provide residents with free high-speed internet.
"That's great. That's awesome. We need all the help we can get around here," Villarreal said.
But Villarreal would also like to see increased security, which is something the money doesn't pay for.
"If they want to really do something about the shooting, they need more police patrolling around here," she said.
But there is no portion of the money being spent on more law enforcement.
"We need to look beyond just patrols and police and really think about what it looks like to move upstream to prevention, and that's really what this investment is about," Valenzuela said.
Funding comes from the city's Measure U sales tax and will fund the programs through the summer of 2024.
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