FAIRFIELD — Sunny Pandher, Ibrahim Mohammad and Tom Johnson stood in the Major Market parking lot echoing one statement: “This is our city.”
During a neighborhood cleanup co-hosted by the city, police and the Matt Garcia Foundation, residents of Grande Circle came out to clean their neighborhood and send a message that they care about their community.
Mohammad, Johnson and Pandher are all residents of Grande Circle. Each has seen the street, the neighborhood and Fairfield continually evolve, though each has a different perspective of it.
Pandher and Mohammad, the Major Market owner and employee respectively, have watched the neighborhood change from their storefront at the corner of Grande Circle and East Tabor Avenue.
Inside their store and out in their parking, they have zero tolerance for crime and are proactive about the safety of their neighbors on the street.
Johnson, the president of Grande Village Number Two, has lived in Fairfield his entire life and watched the city go from a safe place to a violent, rough one.
But within the past couple of years, Johnson said the police, the city and the concerned residents of Fairfield have stepped up to make their city a safe place to live again.
Police and Grande Circle residents have met several times now at community meetings to determine how their neighborhood can curb violence and crime.
Crime Prevention Specialist Jeff Conner said that residents proposed the idea of having a cleanup in their neighborhood.
The cleanup was not only a chance to pick up trash in the neighborhood but to encourage its neighbors to network with each other and police.
“This is a great way to get together and show care in the community,” Conner said.
Volunteer neighbors, police, city officials and Matt Garcia Foundation members came together to pick up garbage and debris as well as collect old furniture from residents in the circle.
The cleanup is part of a larger effort, of course, to strengthen the relationship between the police and its residents and improve their city.
Not everyone has stepped in to help, but Johnson, Mohammad and Pandher aren’t afraid to be the first.
“We have to step forward or else no one will come,” Mohammad said. “This is our city.”
Reach Heather Ah San at 427-6977 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/HeatherMalia.