On a bitterly cold, overcast December afternoon, Debbie Sterling points out a vacant lot at the corner of Kearney Street and Fort Avenue in Springfield’s Zone 1. The home that once stood here, she says, used to be a hotbed for criminal activity. In her neighborhood of Woodland Heights, among the biggest crime concerns, says Sterling, is drugs.
“You see a lot of stop-and-go traffic at houses or you’ll see people sitting out in cars in front of certain houses. As soon as they see you they take off,” she says.