Residents help police combat crime in Gautier's neighborhoods

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Gautier residents are teaming up to keep their neighborhoods safe. Police said they now have at least 15 Neighborhood watch programs. Police told Patrice Clark they still need more people to be the eyes and ears for their community.

Natasha Rankins is the new neighborhood watch coordinator for the College Park Subdivision of Gautier. That's the same subdivision where a murder happened just a few weeks ago.

"I was very concerned," Rankins said.

Gautier's Crime Prevention Officer Diane Schmid said through the assistance of concerned neighbors like Rankins, police were able to make an arrest in the case the same day.

"Well, that is part of neighborhood watch. We try to educate people on what we need to know, what to look for, how to give us descriptions, and in this situation, it worked," Schmid said. "The information they gave us was so detailed, we were able to catch the suspect really, very quickly."

More than 30 people are now on the College Park neighborhood watch team.

"People are tired of coming home to these things, the things that are going around here. They want to take their community back, and I want to be a catalyst to help them do that," Rankins said.

That's good news to Schmid. She said folks in Gautier and around town are really stepping up to keep their communities safe.

"We started with zero programs after the storm, they kind of faded away. So, we revitalized the program, we have15 neighborhood watches," Schmid said.

While 15 is a great start, Gautier police said they would like more folks to dedicate their time to helping police attack crime city-wide.

"Crime is going to exist. But if we make ourselves less of a target they will either have to go someplace else, or if we start arresting some of these people, through good information, they won't have the ability to commit the crime anymore," Schmid said.

If you would like to start a neighborhood watch program in Gautier, please call Crime Prevention officer Diane Schmid at (228) 497-8049.

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