South Park, Santa Rosa, California
South Park is a small residential neighborhood in the city of Santa Rosa, California. It is located in south Santa Rosa, below the Luther Burbank Memorial Highway and west of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, and encompasses 30 blocks. The community is notorious for its high crime rate, drug usage, and gang activity. South Park was also once a settlement for African Americans during the mid-1900s and was a center of Santa Rosa's black community.
Originally an Italian and German community, South Park became a popular settlement for African Americans relocating from the South after World War II in the late 1940s, and was considered the "black neighborhood" of Santa Rosa. A chapter of NAACP was founded and a black church was established during this time in the area, but the church, known as Community Baptist Church, has relocated and is currently off of Sonoma Avenue. In 1990, seventeen percent of South Park's residents were black, and 21% of them Hispanic. Refugees from the African country Eritrea also settled in the neighborhood during the 1990s. The demographics started beginning to shift during the 1980s when it became a popular destination for Latino immigrants, and as of 2010, is 70% Hispanic, 22% white, 3% Asian, and 2% African American.
The South Park neighborhood, along with West Ninth, West Third, Roseland and Apple Valley in northwest Santa Rosa, are the most vulnerable to drug or gang-related crime of any neighborhoods in Santa Rosa. Much of the crime that occurs are burglaries, gang activity, and graffiti. South Park's gangs are primarily Mexican American, namely Norteños and Sureños. Drive-by shootings are a common form of gang-related attacks on people in South Park.
South Park contains Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, and two churches. It is situated southwest of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.
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