I moved back to Belleville to take care of my ailing father 18 months ago and was immediately confronted with a new reality, which is Belleville in the year 2016. A hooker attempting to ply her trade approached me (while driving in my car) within the very first week of my arrival (on 74th and Main). Two weeks later, there was a shooting at an apartment complex one block from my childhood home. These apartments, which once housed retirees, now harbor drug dealers and gangsters.
The neighborhood tavern across from where I played as a child was recently the scene of a shooting where two youths randomly took aim at patrons standing outside. Two weeks ago, I personally witnessed three boys around 13 years old surround and rob a homeless man walking down West Main Street. Yesterday I was filling up at a convenience store near Belleville West High School and as my back was turned a kid across from me at a different gas pump stole a shopping bag right off of the hood of my car. One of my neighbors had her basement door kicked in and another neighbor scared off three men attempting to burglarize her home in broad daylight.
We need to put this ever-worsening situation at the forefront of Belleville’s issues, which need immediate addressing. We can (as residents of Belleville) no longer tolerate or turn a blind eye to Belleville’s plight.
Eric Reeve, Belleville
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