"All it takes is one to start a movement"; an east Chattanooga m - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

"All it takes is one to start a movement"; an east Chattanooga man stands against crime

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Will Smith is a law abiding citizen, a Vietnam veteran, and a home builder.

"I was born and raised here," Smith says. Now he can add community activist to that list.

Smith has built 15 homes on properties he owns in throughout East Chattanooga. He only has to look around the corner to see the people who have moved in over the years. "The people that are here that don't belong here need to go somewhere else," says Smith.

Once his tenant of nine years on Rawlings Street moved out he says the drug dealers tried to move in, mostly on the lot next door. "I confronted them after showing my house, then my unit went missing my windows were busted out," Smith explains.

So, he bought the next door lot and built a fence around it. "The next thing that happened was they took the rod from the fence and threw it in the front window," Smith says.

That was the last straw, he spent four days at this vacant home watching and waiting for someone else to come. "Its a form of intimidation and they need to know I'm not going nowhere. This is mine, I pay taxes on my property. They have to switch, they have to move somewhere," explains Smith.

He's enlisted the help of the nearby church and neighbors who are willing to stand on Rawlings. "We decided hey look, we fixing to straighten this out," says Smith. He is working hand in hand with police and hopes others on this street gain the courage to do the same. "You know what's going on so just tell it. Don't be afraid, just tell it. You see it, its right in your eyes," says Smith.

 "If I have to call out my Vietnam brothers, we gonna come out here and we gonna stand. This is not gonna happen."

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