SANTA MARIA, Calif.- After a year of violence rocks Northwest Santa Maria, the city is moving forward with a new plan.
The Action Plan follows a town hall meeting by city officials in October. Santa Maria Police Chief, Ralph Martin, along with local officials held a community meeting on October 15th where 150 Santa Maria residents provided feedback in areas, where the city should improve its efforts. A focus group was held and a new plan was developed. The Action Plan is complete, it's now time to execute it.
Graffiti, dirty alleyways, gang activity and prostitution. All major concerns for Northwest Santa Maria neighborhoods, but with the city's new action plan these issues will be addressed.
"We started with the town hall meeting so we were there to listen to see what the people wanted done in their community," said Mayor Alice Patino.
North of Fesler and west of Broadway has become the hot spot for improvement and with the new plan more officers will be patrolling the area.
"The community gets to know their policemen and the policemen get to know their community, so that's going to be very helpful in getting the neighborhoods cleaned up," explained Patino.
A plan that may be too late for Jose Naveja who was shot and killed last July by local law enforcement after leading officers on a slow speed pursuit.
"There's different ways that can be handled with the police department," said Bonnie Fout, the victim's sister.
Bonnie Fout says her brother, Jose, may be still be alive if this plan was done a year ago and if officers reacted differently.
"Major training not what yesterdays training is but today and tomorrow's training and I think that's what we really needed," said Fout.
While others think the new plan is a new beginning for the city.
"I think once the community sees that the law enforcement is serious about this that hopefully they will communicate better," said Monica Simmons, a Santa Maria resident.
The Action Plan is already underway, the Santa Maria Police Department says after conducting a prostitution sting in the area, more than 20 men were arrested and taken off the streets for allegedly soliciting prostitutes for sex.
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