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Detroit women say they're taking back their block

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Detroiter Shirley McNeal is fed up with the crime in her neighborhood. Detroiter Shirley McNeal is fed up with the crime in her neighborhood.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

Some brave ladies say enough is enough. They have a message for the young punks ruining their neighborhood -- get out or we will throw you out.

These good citizens feel like prisoners. For most of them, these are their golden years, but they feel like they have been robbed of precious time.

Shirley McNeal is 67 years old, which really isn't old at all.

"But if you live under fear, I might as well be 100, you know, and not be here," she said.

"Not be here," Ms. Shirley said, when she has lived on Detroit's west side for 27 years.

"They might as well do like they did in Russia, dig a hole and just kill us and throw us in it because senior citizens are no longer respected," McNeal said.

Back in the day, her street, "I made this my safe haven." But now, she and her fellow neighbors and friends "don't feel safe anymore."

Why?

"Because of the guys that [are] hanging around in the neighborhood," McNeal said.

"They're walking up to you with guns," said Bernice Early.

"I don't know who's lurking in the alley," said Linda Bledsoe.

"We've had so many break-ins," McNeal said.

"They sneak up on you," Early said.

"They're youngsters," McNeal said.

"They may retaliate against you or something, so a lot of us just stay in our houses and keep the doors closed," Bledsoe said.

"We can't come out unless somebody else comes out to help watch us, like we need baby-sitters because we're just that fearful," McNeal said.

"I'm scared to come in at night," Bledsoe said.

"They are going from house to house. It seems like the senior citizens are targeted," McNeal said.

They said young thugs have taken over this community, intimidated homeowners and the little ones that live there, too.

"My fear is that one of these kids [is] going to either get hit by a car or they're going to get raped," McNeal said.

These feisty women who live near Fenkell are fed up, but they are strong, and they are standing together, they say, to save their lives.

"We just made up our minds at the block club meeting that we weren't going to take it anymore," Bledsoe said.

"We're right at death. We're not going to live as long we have lived. So why we can't live it happily?" McNeal said.

"We want our block back, and we're going to take our block back by any means necessary," Bledsoe said.

These ladies always have and always will call the police when something is not right, but these women are fighters for what's right.

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