Two business owners in a Beloit neighborhood say crime in their area Is out of control. They're using their bravery, to take a stand.
It's not uncommon seeing signs that say "Stop the Violence" on different streets in Beloit's Merrill neighborhood. John McKillips and Darrell Wildes have auto shops that share the same street in that part of town. They say the area is no stranger to shootings and drugs, especially in the daytime.
"We got murders going on down the street in the park. We got drug deals going on in our front yard, and we have customers who are afraid to leave their cars here because of all the stuff that's going on," said Darrell Wildes, Owner, Wildes Auto Body Shop.
"People, whenever they ask, where exactly are you located, and I'll tell them. They say well that's in a bad neighborhood. That's kind of bad over there," said John McKillips, Owner, McKillips Muffler and Exhaust.
The businesses owners say enough is enough. They've formed a group called Businesses Rally Against Violent Environment, or B.R.A.V.E. The men use their bravery to confront every criminal they see.
"We usually go out there, and try to figure out what they're doing. Ask them what they're business is here. If they don't want to talk, then we'll do most of the talking. Take a picture of their car and their license plates so we have all that and kind of let them know that kind of activity is not going to go on around here," said McKillips.
It's those initiatives that the men hope other neighbors and business owners use to make the city safer.
"We're hoping other people will follow and not put up with it in their neighborhood. Then they don't have to worry about having a bad neighborhood," said McKillips.
"We used to be the All American city. We want to take that title back," said Wildes.
Thank you to WIFR for reprint permission.