SAN BERNARDINO ( — Community members are being asked to help with an initiative to curb crime and violence in a troubled area of San Bernardino.

KCAL9’s Crystal Cruz reports that homes are littered with trash and apartments are boarded up with steel cages in a half-mile square area south of Highland Avenue and west of Waterman Avenue.

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San Bernardino police Lt. Richard Lawhead said he’s seen a lot of change in the area, but not necessarily for the better.

“San Bernardino, in the 80s, was the place to be, a very nice community, but it has kinda gone downhill,” he said. “[There’s been] murders, robberies, rapes in this area.”

Jose Duenas, the manager of a Church’s Chicken, said he was hit in the face during a restaurant robbery in January.

“We have to call the police so many times. There has been sometimes that we have to call almost every day,” he said.

With the help of a grant and people who care, neighbors were asked to clean up their homes and help detract the criminal element.

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“Someone tonight made a statement about the block being hot. It would definitely cool the block off,” community leader David Morrow said.

City leaders said just picking up trash in the yard or getting to know a neighbor could restore pride.

“I think there’s a lot of people in this neighborhood that want to help, that want to see a big change,” Lawhead said.

A neighborhood cleanup is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 26. It will be followed by a cookout on Sepulveda Avenue between 14th and 15th streets.

A Community Organizing workshop is scheduled for April 12.

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For more information on the city’s efforts, email