Omaha Neighborhood Targeted By Vandals

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - Two fires in the same neighborhood within two weeks, both are considered suspicious and investigators think its arson.

The people living in the area say that's just the beginning of many problems in their neighborhood.

They say their street is plagued with crooks and vandals.

The man who lives in the latest home lit up in flames said when he ran out into the garage and saw it on fire; he noticed an overwhelming smell of gasoline. He knew then that it wasn't an accident. That's when he saw the graffiti on the truck.

Samantha Smith lives in the neighborhood. She said, "on the truck it says "white trash" and "sup ninjas" and they got three kids...four kids, it's not right for this to happen."

Ronnel Smith said he worried for his family, "I'm not scared but I got kids you know what I mean, so I'm scared for them."

Fire destroyed Ronnel Smith's garage early Sunday morning. He said flames were just a few feet from his daughter's bedroom.

Neighbors said the people on this street are being targeted. They are burdened with crime almost daily.

Two weeks ago someone lit a home on fire, but arson isn't the only problem plaguing this neighborhood. Samantha says graffiti is everywhere and shootings are common.

"Every night we got to sleep with our lights on cause we're scared. Our house has been shot up so many times."

Samantha said one night she was sitting in her backyard with a girlfriend enjoying their night off. A car drove by and started shooting at their house. There are still bullets in the wall.

Vandals with paintball guns have also targeted them. "I'm very worried about my safety. Yep, I'm worried. We call the cops, we do everything and nothing happens, ever. Nothing happens at all."

Now they are begging for change and asking police to take a stand. "I want them to do something, they have to, I mean this is getting sad. Because they have to do something, cause if not then someone's going to get hurt."

People living near 16th and Carter Boulevard say enough is enough. They're asking anyone with information to contact authorities. They want crime in their neighborhood to stop.

To file a report with the arson investigators, call 444-FIRE.

You can also contact Crime Stoppers with information regarding suspicious activity in that neighborhood at 444-STOP. You will remain anonymous and you could get a cash reward.