Moss Point chief promotes neighborhood watch to curb crime

By Patrice Clark – bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point Police Chief Sheila Smallman was on Martin Luther King Blvd. knocking on doors Monday morning. She's encouraging citizens to help her fight crime in their neighborhoods.

"It is not a form of snitching, you are giving advice and it is good advice," Chief Smallman said.

There about a dozen neighborhood watch programs scattered throughout the city, but the chief said that's just not enough. Smallman said police officers can't patrol every block every minute of the day.

"We are limited in number," Smallman said.

In the past three months, more than 30 homes have been burglarized in Moss Point. There have been some arrests, like the five juveniles accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of toys, clothes, and games. Chief Smallman credits those arrests to community involvement.

"One of the officers received a call from one of our citizens that day, and we were able to break this ring," Smallman said.  "The more citizens that get involved, the more information we are able to collect."

Smallman said starting a watch out program is simple.

"Each neighborhood gets together, and organizes a group, and conducts a meeting twice a month."

The Landwood Drive neighborhood took the chief's advice. Neighbors, like the Johnsons, are proud to say they're now the eyes and ears for their street.

"When you know someone has your back in your neighborhood, you feel more comfortable,"  Chris Johnson said.

That's the message the chief is now spreading to folks like Gwen Williams.  She's considering being a lookout for crime in her community.

"Our home should be a peaceful place, and you don't want nobody to come in and take what you work so hard for through the years to get," Williams said.

Anyone interested in starting a neighborhood watch program in Moss Point should call the police department at (228) 475-1711.

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