WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem residents have spoken and their safety is at the top of their priority list. So much so that they approved a bond referendum that will put $31 million towards improving public safety in the city.
One of the major expenses in the bond referendum will go towards three police substations in the city; a city which currently has none.
The substations will be based out of the three different police districts. The substation in district one will be near University Parkway and North Point Boulevard. District two's will be located somewhere in the area of Hanes Mall Boulevard and Jonestown Road and the substation in district three will be located at the old Lucia building on Waughtown Street.
Otis Myers, who lives in the Waughtown area, said, "You can't trust anybody around your children anymore. I mean, not even little boys."
Myers was referring to the number of juveniles who have recently been arrested for crimes within the city.
Myers told FOX8 that his neighborhood is generally quiet. However in August, 68-year-old Luther Gordon was found shot dead inside his home on nearby Bretton St. and in July, 17-year-old Danny Joe Harris was killed in a drive-by shooting at a home on Bloomfield Drive, which is also near Myers' home.
The Winston-Salem crime map shows that police have responded to over 600 calls within a mile of Myers' home in the last month alone; 38 of which have been violent crimes.
"I have children that I don't want to be around it and I don't want them to grow up like that," said April King, who lives within 300 feet of the future Waughtown Street substation. "It's like almost every day in this neighborhood. Every day and the police lives on this street."
Winston-Salem Police Chief Barry Rountree told FOX8 that not only will the substations improve response times but they will also allow his officers to improve their relationship with surrounding communities; a vital part of police work.
Rountree says there will be 84 officers working out of each of the substations.
"I don't have any problem with police officers, none whatsoever," said Myers. "[We] need more of them."
King said she will feel "a whole lot safer knowing that there's somebody around to protect this neighborhood."
Also included in the bond referendum is $10 million for renovations to the main public safety center, $7 million will go towards the Alexander Beaty Public Safety Center and fire stations 7, 8 and 9 will also be renovated.
The substation in district one has an estimated cost of $3,458,000, whereas the district two's substation will cost about $1,584,000 and district three's substation will take up about $3,958,000 of the $31 million total.