Jordan Downs project in Watts celebrates lower crime, new housing

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A $1 billion housing redevelopment has been approved and the number of homicides is down in Watts' Jordan Downs project. (KABC)

From bounce houses, to face painting, carnival games and video games, Friday was a day of celebration at the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts.

From 2001 to 2011, there were 23 homicides in the area. In the last three years, there have been zero.

"There is incredible hope here. And I think if you look around, you see the faces of the families, you see the kids, you know you can see that hope," said Dr. Kathryn Icenhower, CEO of Shields for Families.

Police installed cameras, and adopted more of a relationship-based communication strategy with residents.

"The youth we worked with five or six years ago in the schools are now teenagers and they're at that age where they were going into the gangs and getting in trouble. And we're not seeing that nearly as much," said Capt. Phil Tingirides.

Mobile health clinics started regular visits. The Coach for Kids program, part of the Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, is now providing body mass index checks, nutrition classes and free immunizations.

"It's inspiring, it's special, it's touching, and I love coming here," said Michelle Henrickson with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The Los Angeles City Council has given the go-ahead for a $1 billion redevelopment project.

"We're bringing in retail, commercial development along Century Boulevard, with an extension of Century Boulevard here. This was an effort to let the community know here that you matter," said Councilman Joe Buscaino.

"Every time you hear about Watts, it's always something negative. But the people should know that there's a lot of positive going on in Watts," said resident Richard Alford.

Ground breaking on the redevelopment project is expected early next year.

Related Topics:
newshousinglos angeles city councilWatts
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