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Residents Lament The Changing Face Of Back Of The Yards

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A mom walks her child in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. (CBS)

A mom walks her child in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. (CBS)

Suzanne Le Mignot Suzanne Le Mignot
Suzanne Le Mignot serves as CBS 2 Chicago’s general assignment...
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(CBS) — Cornell Square Park looks like a great place for kids to have fun, with baseball diamonds, a soccer field, a field house, plus basketball courts.

But now it’s known as the scene of a mass shooting that occurred Thursday night, leaving 13 injured, including a 3-year-old boy.

CBS 2′s Suzanne Le Mignot talks with locals who say they live in a neighborhood in turmoil.

“We used to have block clean-ups twice a year, when they’d get ready to go to school and after school. I used to barbecue for all the kids,” Mary Powell, former Back of the Yards resident, says.

That was in the ‘80s. Powell later moved from the area because of the violence.

“To me, it’s worse,” she says.

Following the shooting, CAPS members went door to door in Powell’s old neighborhood. They passed out fliers with beat meeting times, encouraging residents to attend.

Those living near the park say in just the past two years violence has escalated. Just two days ago, a house was shot up. Police responded to a call of shots fired and found numerous shell casings.

“You just hear gun shooting, over and over,” resident Brenda Munoz says.

She and her kids hit the deck when they heard the gunfire.

Things were back to normal Friday at the park. But for many of the young mothers CBS 2 spoke with, they never even brought their children there because of all the violence they see each day.

“You got to take a long drive to take your kids somewhere out safe, because here it’s not really good. It’s getting bad,” Munoz says.

Still, Powell holds out hope.

“I hope it gets better, for the little kids’ sake,” she says.

Several residents say many of the now-vacant foreclosed homes in the community appear to be adding to the crime increase. They say the homes are a haven for criminal activity.

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