Thursday, February 6, 2014
Neighbors unite to help halt crime
By BARRY BURLESON
A theme of citizens and police working together to combat crime dominated a Neighborhood Watch meeting last week.
About 40 residents, most from Wards 3 and 4 in Holly Springs, attended the informative session at the Eddie L. Smith Multi-Purpose Building.
Police chief William Hollowell said it was the largest crowd ever for a Neighborhood Watch meeting in the city.
“People have had some problems in their neighborhoods, and together, we want to see if we can remedy that,” Hollowell said. “Everyone can help. It’s all about getting involved in your neighborhoods – neighbors looking out for one another.”
There has been a rash of car break-ins in those two Holly Springs wards in recent weeks.
One resident said the suspicious activity of a young man was reported one day but later “he was back out again.”
“We need a better sense of security,” she said.
Chief Hollowell said the suspect had been identified as one of two people.
Another resident said he moved back to Holly Springs and every year for five years he’s had a theft.
“If it’s on my porch and not locked down, it’s gone,” he said. “It’s out of control. It’s happening in broad daylight.”
Community members asked for more of a police presence in their neighborhoods. They said the problem is foot traffic, with pedestrians walking through their front and back yards, onto their porches and into their carports.
“People are walking through our private property and when we tell them to leave, they get an attitude,” one said.
“Somebody is going to get hurt,” another added.
Chief Hollowell said the police department would step up patrol in the areas of concern in the two wards.
“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to cut down on that (foot) traffic,” he said.
Residents praised the police for prompt response when they call – one said police were there in four minutes after a 911 call at 3 a.m. and another said officers were there in three minutes following a call at 1 a.m.
Hollowell urged the citizens to know their neighbors, and if their senses say something is not right, call the police immediately.
“Time is of the essence,” he said.
Chief Hollowell said he would be ordering Neighborhood Watch signs for the residents and he encouraged them to meet regularly as groups. He also passed out Neighborhood Watch literature.
Mayor Kelvin Buck said Holly Springs must have a “zero tolerance for crime.” He said a key component is the relationship between community and police.
“And if a person is arrested, the judicial system should act on it so these people will be dealt with to the full extent of the law,” he said.
Another person in attendance said, “We as citizens need to be more assertive and we must be a well-knit group with pro-active community policing.”
Ward 4 alderman Christy Owens organized the meeting. Also in attendance were Ward 3 alderman Mark Miller and alderman-at-large Tim Liddy.
Two police officers, Capt. Darryl Bowen and Lt. Dwight Harris, accompanied Chief Hollowell.
All agreed more police presence in the communities was the top priority moving forward. The possibility of a bicycle patrol was discussed.
“Come together and help each other and communicate with our law officers,” Owens said.
Mayor Buck said other Neighborhood Watch meetings would be scheduled for city residents to attend.
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