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      Keeping Saginaw streets safer, cleaner for neighbors

      Five Saginaw men were sentenced Monday on gang- and drug-related charges. Armand X. Berry, Robbie L. Cotton, Timmie Favorite, Robert Moore and Jessie Studs, Jr. were sentenced to probation, jail or both, after entering into plea agreements last month.

      Itâ??s the result of a year-long investigation by the Saginaw Police Department and the FBI Mid-Michigan Safe Streets Task Force to make streets safer and cleaner for the public.

      "It made it safer,â?? said Christopher Clayton, whoâ??s lived in Saginaw for 52 years. â??Even walking around at night, you can do that now."

      Clayton is familiar with the North Side/Projects gang - all five men were alleged members. He says the streets are definitely better lately, but the community needs to step up. Thatâ??s exactly what Patricia Witson says the Northeast Saginaw Neighborhood Association is trying to do.

      "Weâ??re trying to do things, clean things up, but there have been crime on this side of town,â?? said Witson, who added, the police can only do so much and sometimes regular people can make just as big an impact.

      Sheâ??s not alone. Pastor Marvin Smith at Mt. Olive Institutional Missionary Baptist Church makes it his mission to be a beacon in the neighborhood, and welcome everyone - even people with a record.

      "We have shown ourselves to be a friend in the community,â?? Smith said.

      He hopes befriending one person at a time can be an effective way to keep trouble off the streets.