Gautier Neighbors Team Up Against Crime - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/07/03

Gautier Neighbors Team Up Against Crime

A new partnership with law enforcement could be the answer for some Gautier residents who say they are tired of feeling like prisoners in their own homes.

About 20 residents of the Cambridge Square subdivision went to a recent city council meeting asking for police help to fight crime in their neighborhood. As a result the department is launching a new neighborhood watch program.

Gautier police officer Tony Best is getting to know the streets of one of Gautier's newest neighborhoods. He's also getting acquainted with the people who live in the Cambridge Square Subdivision.

Many of them say crime in their neighborhood makes them feel trapped inside their homes. Tim Tiner's home has been burglarized three times.

"If I go out of town to visit my mother, or someone like that, I'm continually worried about my house being vandalized, or whatever, and it's hard to relax," Tiner said.

Officer Best say most of the neighbors are anxious about 'smash and grab burglaries' where thieves kick in doors or windows and grab whatever they can find.

Sharon Bullock moved in less than a week ago. She's already a crime victim.

"The first night, which was a Tuesday, I was barely moved in and I left a car in the garage and went off and came back and they had stole the radio out of it," Bullock said.

Best heads a neighborhood watch program that teaches residents about crime prevention and how to work better with police. The program also encourages neighbors to stop being strangers.

"Neighbors will share names and phone numbers with each other and it's just a good way for neighbors to get out and meet their neighbors - know who is down the street," Best said.

Residents say many of the people committing the crimes are unsupervised teenagers. They would like to see some type of recreational facility in the neighborhood to keep the young people off the streets.

The neighborhood watch meeting for Cambridge Square will be Thursday night at 6 p.m. at Gautier city hall.

by Danielle Thomas

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