Friends remember Schorr as key to reducing Highland Park crime - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Friends remember Schorr as key to reducing Highland Park crime

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - One of Chattanooga's biggest leaders in fighting crime has passed away. Judith Schorr, 66, was known for confronting criminals face-to-face in the Highland Park neighborhood.

"If you want a safe neighborhood, if you want a clean neighborhood, then you need to step up and do something," Schorr told Eyewitness News back in 2010. Stepping up and doing something was exactly what she did for decades.

"She was just one of those inspiring people that make you want to do more," said Uneva Shaw, a close friend and former Highland Park resident.

It was Schorr's mission to turn things around in the Highland Park area, a place once ridden with crime.

"She was one of the first ones to go out and stand up to the prostitutes," said Gary Ball, Schorr's friend of 30 years.

"A strong force," said Highland Park resident Olga de Klein. "A force that definitely was to be reckoned with."

"She would stand on the street and either talk with the drug dealers or let them know they had to go," said Chattanooga city councilman Yusuf Hakeem.

Schorr helped found the Highland Park Neighborhood Association in 1990. She coordinated neighborhood watches, meetings and walks while picking up several community safety awards along the way.

According to Hakeem, there were 114 drug houses in the Highland Park community when Schorr began her crime watch efforts. "When she finished, I don't know if there were any drug houses at all," he said.

"She worked hand and glove with us at all times," said Chattanooga Police Lt. Glen Scruggs. Schorr was in constant contact with police about her neighbors' complaints. "She'd call a dozen times a week about this, that or another."

Scruggs, who was assigned to patrol the neighborhood, said Schorr was always keeping a watch out when police weren't nearby.

"It takes people like Ms. Schorr to step up and help us out," Scruggs said.

Friends said Schorr -- who hated having her photo taken -- never wanted to be in the spotlight.

"There was nobody else that had the stamina, the gumption or the perseverance to do this," said neighbor, Shari Jump.

Judith Schorr just wanted change. And she accomplished that.

"Her inspiration and her passion will carry on because she did that for so many people," said Shaw.

Although the Highland Park Neighborhood Association's crime committee is still active, members said it will take a lot of hands to do a fraction of the work Schorr took on.
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