"Drugs are big here and it's getting worse," Penny Burch said.
Burch lives in Rutland's northwest neighborhood, an area of the city from Crescent Street to State Street that police have identified as a "hot zone" of criminal activity. They say those few blocks account for 79 percent of the city's burglaries, 80 percent of thefts, 85 percent of vandalism and 84 percent of disorderly conduct and assaults.
"When I raised my daughter here, years ago, it was a nice neighborhood," Burch said. "Now, it's scary. You're watching your neighbors. You're watching yourself because you never know what's going to happen next."
"You make sure that your doors are locked and your blinds are down," mom Veronica Cyr said.
Cyr moved to the neighborhood 7 months ago because the school district had the artistic opportunities she was looking for. But she says it's a tough place to raise kids.
"You have to watch out," Cyr said. "There's drug dealers. There's people who come down here to steal from other people and it can be a very dangerous place for kids out here."
Rutland Police say this neighborhood ties up a tremendous amount of resources. Of the 13,000 calls for service police get every year, more than half are in this neighborhood.
"For the folks that are trying to scratch out a living and working to be good citizens that live in that area, we owe it to them to make sure our focus is in that area," Rutland City Police Chief James Baker said.
And the city is looking to the feds for help. It just applied for a $1 million grant to address the mental health and substance abuse issues that police say are driving crime.
"A lot of that is driven by these issues that the police department has no control over. We're not social workers. We're not substance abuse clinicians," Baker said.
The police chief says the department has been unfairly blamed over the years for failing to solve the problem. He's now trying to forge a partnership between police, social services and state government, hoping the team effort will be more effective.
"It's got to be a total attack with all our tools on our tool belt and arresting people is only a small part of that strategy," Baker said.
If Rutland gets the grant, the plan would be to put a social worker, mental health counselor and addiction specialist inside the department, rounding out the community intervention concept. It's a strategy residents say is a good start.
"I know they're doing the best they can and city police are on guard and they're watching them," Burch said, "but it's happening and it needs to be dealt with."
City officials say they'll know by April or May if Rutland got the grant. But the police chief says his department and community partners are working on an alternative intervention strategy if the money does not come through.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:10:32 GMT
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help. Lincoln will get more than $4.5 million for a bridge repair from Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA also awarded Lebanon more than $3More >>
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:58 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:06 GMT
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro. The film is called "The Address". It follows the 50 boys at the Greenwood School in Putney who have learningMore >>
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:03:58 GMT
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself. Claremont police tell us that the man was cleaning his gun Saturday night when it went off. He was taken to the hospitalMore >>
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:59:53 GMT
This towering ice fortress is dazzling visitors to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. "Yeah, this is a wow moment," says visitor Millie Gabriel. "It's an incredible feeling to see people really light upMore >>
If you're ready to see one more beautiful thing before we say hello to spring, then we've found the spot for you.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:53:41 GMT
When the Wild Center in Tupper Lake was looking at maple education programs, they hit a bit of a snag. "I took a survey of the 31 acres here at the museum and we only had one maple tree on the property,"More >>
The Community Maple program has been going for three years now, allowing people to take the sap from their backyard and learn how to turn it into syrup.
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:44:12 GMT
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March! PANCAKE BREAKFAST This year is the 20th annual Franklin Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast at the Franklin Central School. They serve more than 2,000More >>
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March!More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>