Grace Santana of the Longwood Highland Neighborhood Watch

Category: Leaders, Activists
Published on Friday, 12 October 2012 13:49
Written by Chelsee Lowe

A stark void was left when long-time community activist Celia Bell left Longwood Avenue for Las Vegas, but lucky for the neighborhood Grace Santana was willing to step into her place. It’s been over one year since the humble Santana began hosting the monthly Longwood Highland Neighborhood Watch meetings, and the sense of community in the area continues to grow with her help.

The Watch came into being after a series of robberies and assaults occurred in the area. “We started the meetings then,” Santana said. “We had to do something. We said let’s have a meeting, everybody get together, so everyone can look out for each other.”

Now Santana can name the residents of nearly every home on her street, and she feels a strong sense of responsibility for her neighbors’ well-being. She also knows that the area’s crime rate has fallen since the group formed.

“We want to make our neighborhood safe, that is my intention. After these meetings, I think we feel safe. The police drive passed here two or three times a week, sometimes twice a day. And now we know each other. You never know when you’ll need your neighbors.”

Santana hosts meetings in her own home on the last Tuesday night of every month. The number of attendees ranges between ten and twenty. “It’s not an obligation,” Santana says. “You have to understand that people work. People who come usually bring something, so everyone has a little dinner. It’s a neighbor get-together. It makes me happy.”