D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - Several neighbors of the home in Cleveland are being praised for helping police find three missing women. Here at home, D'Iberville Police say this bizarre case backs-up their push to set up more Neighborhood Watch Programs. They are trying to recruit more citizens to keep an eye on criminal activity.
"How in the world did that happen? How did they get by and nobody knew about it?" asked Dennis Koen.
Like so many people, Koen was filled with questions as details emerged about the three missing young women who were found alive in Cleveland Monday. Koen is the block captain of his Neighborhood Watch Program in the Riverwalk subdivision in D'Iberville.
"We get to know each other. We have a directory of who lives where," said Koen.
Shortly after the program started last spring, several homes and vehicles in the subdivision were burglarized. Police made three arrests and Koen worked with his neighbors to help them reclaim their stolen items. Koen's house was among those hit.
"It's not a good feeling. That's why we have a property owner's association and our neighborhood watch program and the D'Iberville Police," said Koen.
D'Iberville Police say that partnership with the public has helped them prevent and solve crimes. Lieutenant Shannon Nobles credits alert neighbors for notifying officers about marijuana grow houses in two subdivisions last year. Nobles said the case in Cleveland should open people's eyes about being more vigilant neighbors.
"Definitely, if somebody was being more diligent in the neighborhood and would see that looks strange, who lives there? Who are these girls who live there, those kinds of things? So it might have been reported maybe earlier, we don't know. Hopefully, if something like that happens in D'Iberville, we want to know before ten years passed," said Nobles.
Nobles praised the neighbors in Cleveland for their courage.
"First thing is, when you see something suspicious or dangerous, make sure you're safe and call us. That's what we do. We investigate those things. But in that situation, I think that was courageous. Maybe they wouldn't have gotten help or the immediate help they needed if they didn't take action," said Nobles.
"I know the police department cruises our neighborhood all the time, but still, we're here all the time and we have to protect ourselves," said Koen.
D'Iberville Police say they are relying more on emails and social media to keep in touch with residents and share information about possible criminal activity. They are working to set up Neighborhood Watch Programs in two other subdivision: Cypress Creek and Palm Ridge.