LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Guns, gang violence and drugs are the focus of a $300,000 federal grant aimed at reducing violent crime across the country.
It's called Project Safe Neighborhoods, and it's now taking aim at Louisville's Parkland neighborhood.
Metro Police applied for the grant hoping to get rid of the gangs, guns and drug problems there.
Neighbors and business owners hope it works.
For nearly 30 years, Duncan's body shop has been in the heart of the Parkland neighborhood. "I went into business in March of 1986 down in the west end," says the body shop's owner, Tony Duncan.
And while business is good, it's not always safe.
"A young man did pull a gun on him, put it in his face," says Duncan about a strong armed robbery attempt.
There have also been other problems.
Duncan says, "Couple of years ago they cut the back fence and came in and tried to break through the back wall with a sledge hammer."
But you could say Parkland hit rock bottom in May of last year. That's when shots were fired and a woman was killed, all in the middle of a police homicide investigation.
"After the string of shootings last May in the Parkland neighborhood, we saw an increase in violent crimes in that area," says Lt. Kit Steimle, Commander of LMPD's Viper Unit.
After the shooting, Metro Police asked for federal help in Parkland. Steimle says, "And it fit perfect into the project safe neighborhoods model."
Project Safe Neighborhood is a nationwide grant that provides money for police overtime with the goal of reducing gun violence. Lt. Steimle says it's already working in Parkland.
"Violent crime is down overall 45 percent in the Parkland Neighborhood from 2012 right now," Steimle said.
But Steimle admits there are still challenges.
"We had a homicide a week-and-a-half ago in the Parkland neighborhood, which we've already made an arrest on, but the homicides from last year are down 8 to 1, year to date."
Although there's still crime in the area, neighbors say they're noticing a change.
"I'm seeing more traffic stops by the unmarked police cars around here," Duncan said.
Duncan appreciates the extra effort by police; however, for now, he's playing it safe and still using common sense.
"We don't open up all of the doors until there's more than one person here," Duncan said. "If we're here by ourselves, we close the doors."
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a two-year grant, but the goal is to sustain the reduction in crime.
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