Phoenix neighborhood cleanup

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PHOENIX -- Picture an alley filled with trash and graffiti. It's unfortunately a common sight throughout the city of Phoenix. But what a difference a few hours of hard work can make. Just ask the folks who live in the area of 19th Street, north of McDowell Road.

"We're cleaning up the neighborhood this morning," explained Andrea Perez.

The teen was among 50 or so students from local high schools who came out to join dozens of neighborhood group volunteers and officers to pitch in the Phoenix Police Department's Community Neighborhood Cleanup.

Saturday's big clean was headed up by Officer Amy Knight.

"We see alot of illegal dumping," she explained. "Couches, Christmas trees, just everything. There's way more trash than I expected."

Good thing there was also a lot more volunteers than organizers had expected. For the people who live in this area, it's welcomed help to beautify their streets.

"This is huge for us," said Christina Henry, who helped form the Coronado East Fight Back neighborhood group. "People think we don't care about the community, but this shows the people who live here do care."

Henry said over the last six years since these types of cleanups began, they've seen a pride of ownership in the neighborhood.

Organizers believe a cleaner neighborhood tends to deter people from vandalizing it and dumping trash.

"If someone sprays graffiti, we paint over it. If they do it again, we paint over it again," explained Knight.

Within several hours, trash from one alley filled up one Dumpster. And left behind, is a cleaner neighborhood that everyone can be proud of.