DeLand Candellight Oaks neighborhood crime on rise, officials say

community leaders step up efforts to combat crime

DeLAND, Fla. – Mangled fences outline homes and trash litters the sidewalks of the DeLand neighborhood of Candlelight Oaks.

"It's like a bad neighborhood. I think they need to fix it," Jessenia Arellano said.

It's an everyday glimpse of what Arellano, 18, said she has seen on a daily basis for the last five years.

Arellano said she hasn’t felt safe since she moved in.

“The first time we moved in, they stole a lot of stuff out of our yard," she told News 6.

Arellano, who is expecting a baby, said she's also concerned about other crimes that's happened in the Candlelight Oaks neighborhood.

"There's shootings and stuff,” Arellano said. “Hopefully, they can fix that too."

 A shooting in the neighborhood last November left two people dead. Police said they're still working hard to find the shooter.

City and community leaders told News 6 they are taking one step further.

"We're trying to start a dialogued with residents in Candlelight Oaks," community information specialist Chris Graham said.

On Monday, Graham said DeLand officers, members of the Concerned Clergy Coalition, the Minority Elected Officials group and the DeLand Dawgs football organization went door-to-door asking residents about their concerns.

"We just started a dialogue with our residents and wanted to see what they perceived to be the problem, what we can do to help them and it's just about building a relationship," Graham said.

According to crime statistics since 2009 police have received, 48 aggravated assault and battery calls, 27 residential burglaries calls, Seven armed robberies calls and six shooting calls in the area.

The city said police already patrol the neighborhood daily, but they want to do more by creating a neighborhood watch group and fixing up the area.

"Infrastructure improvements, such as improving the lighting in the area, also making some upgrades to the roads," Graham said. "It's going to take a group effort to get things to change. It's going to be us helping the residents and the residents helping us. So, it's a community effort."

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