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West Pullman block usually absent of serious crimes

Patty Young winces at the label “neighborhood busybody.”

The retired city inspector would prefer her more formal title: block club president.

“Everybody on the block — I’ve given my phone number to them because they know I’m the go-to person,” said Young, who has lived in her small brick cottage near the corner of Brayton and South State since 1996.

On Thursday, Young and her neighbors woke up to the news that a man had been stabbed to death after allegedly breaking into a resident’s garage. At lunchtime, dried blood was splattered on the sidewalk outside a tidy brick bungalow just a stone’s throw from Young’s own house.

Wet sidewalks from garden sprinklers are more the norm in a neighborhood that works hard to keep the “riff raff” away, Young explained.

Two years ago, when young men began hanging out on the corners at Brayton and South State, Young called her neighbors and suggested they aim their garden sprinklers at the problem spots. Problem solved.

“Basically, we ran the riff raff off the corners,” said Young, standing on her front doorstop but in a hurry to get to her birthday hair appointment.

Young said she sometimes puts fliers in people’s mail boxes when she hears about neighborhood burglaries. She said that when crime flares, she’s occasionally asked the local alderman for help but without much success.

“So, we just watch out for each other,” Young says.

Young can be fearless in her efforts to keep crime at bay. When she found out a neighbor was breaking into homes, she handed out a picture of the man.

And so, residents say, serious crime remains uncommon in their neighborhood in West Pullman.

“This is the best kept secret — Brayton Street,” Young says, with obvious pride.

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