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Residents won’t stand for gang violence

OCEANSIDE — Eastside neighborhood residents met at the Chavez Resource Center to address community concerns on July 19 after two fatal shootings occurred in the community back in May and June.
A group of about 50 residents, community leaders, support organization representatives and police officers met to air concerns and share recommendations.
“I’m glad to see all the people here care about our neighborhood,” said Yolanda Iniguez, a 50-year resident of the Eastside neighborhood.
Police Captain Tom Aguigui said the fatal shootings were two unfortunate incidents, but do not indicate a spike in crime. He said police would continue to keep a high visibility in the neighborhood.
Residents were asked to be the community’s eyes and ears and report any suspicious behavior to the police.
Detective Bill Wese said police are still looking into the two shootings and asked anyone with information to call the tip line at (760) 435-4910.
“We’re not going to solve the problem if no one calls,” said Concha Greene, Eastside United Community Action Network president.
The Eastside neighborhood has come a long way from its history of gang violence in the 1990s. At that time residents banded together after 26 local homicides occurred. Residents worked with police to take back the neighborhood from gang-run violence, reclaiming Joe Balderrama Park that sits in the community center.
“We don’t want to go back to that era,” Greene said. “Coming together really helped. We have to band together again.”
Joe Balderrama Park is a sign of the change. The brightly lit park was filled with soccer players and children as other residents met in the resource center for discussions about the neighborhood.
In addition to police recommendations, announcements were made of upcoming family events and future neighborhood meetings.