FITCHBURG (WKOW) – The crime scene tape is down now, but the recent memories of a domestic homicide last weekend, an officer-involved shooting on September 2 and a murder in late June remain in Fitchburg's Leopold neighborhood. That string of summer violence has people who live there looking for answers.
"It's like every other day now, there's something going on," says Karen Wulf, who lives across the street from Aldo Leopold Elementary School with her three daughters. She says she's seen drugs, violence and a lot of police since moving into the area.
Wulf, and some other community members met with police and other officials during a neighborhood association meeting Tuesday to get some answers and offer their own ideas as solutions.
"Obviously, a lot's happened up here the past few weeks, so we wanted to send the signal, A) city leaders are listening, B) were acting and C) that this is a safe neighborhood," Fitchburg Mayor Shawn Pfaff says.
Gary Ford says he just moved into the neighborhood a few weeks ago. He came to the meeting because he's worried about his kids' safety. "I see a high crime rate, I see a community that is growing constantly and I see a lot of violence," Ford says.
Police were there to address the violence and maintain the most recent incidents are isolated. "The incidents that we're referring to could happen anywhere," Fitchburg Deputy Chief Don Bates says.
Even so, people at the meeting asked for more police presence and a closer relationship with those patrolling their streets. Bates says they've increased patrols in the area and also assigned bicycle patrols.
Pfaff says the keys to making it better are good police work and re-investing the area with new roadways, businesses and recreational programs. He says, "We don't want to let the gateway to our city, a city of 25,000 people, go to decay and that's why were up here working hard." He also points out that the people police believe are responsible for the recent violent incidents are all in custody.
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