Community meeting allows residents to speak with leaders about concerns

Community meeting allows residents to speak with leaders about concerns

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It was a chance to talk with neighbors and hear from city leaders and police about issues in their neighborhood. Dozens turned out to the public meeting in the Handsboro Community Center.

"We've had some recent concerns about some incidents that are happening in College Park, and we wanted to get everybody together in an open forum to discuss some of these items," said Ward 2 Councilman Ron Roland.

They discussed issues like break-ins and thefts along with other dangers.

"We've had different things happening like people going through the neighborhood checking for unlocked doors on the car and petty theft out of the garages," Roland said. "And also, we've had some unlicensed solicitors that are coming around putting high-pressure sales techniques on people and scaring some of the citizens."

Daniel Whichard has seen his share of crime.

"We noticed several instances in our area on Palmer drive," Whichard said. "We had one where someone attempted to remove my tractor mower, and then there was a gentleman a couple houses down from us, someone entered his home through a window and made off with a few of his valuables."

They are concerns College Park residents believe can be solved by working with police.

"These meetings are imperative that we kind of get on the same footing without community," said Deputy Chief Chris Loposser. "It's a cooperative effort. We get together. They're there all day, all night. They're going to see things that we're not going to see. They're our eyes and ears on the street. They're the ones who know who's supposed to be in the neighborhood and who's not."

For newer residents like Barene Conly, meetings like this are a chance to better understand their community.

"It does help you as an outsider moving to a new city, a new town," said Conly. "These things are so helpful in letting you get out and understand your new living environment."

Conly has seen programs like neighborhood watches succeed.

"I belonged in a neighborhood watch in Flagstaff Arizona, our prior town where we lived, and they really do work," Conly said.

Deputy Chief Loposser hopes to see the community continue to work with law enforcement.

"Our citizens in our city as a whole cooperate and communicate with the police department regularly and without that, it would be very very very hard to keep up with the things that are going on," said Loposser.

Roland says a neighborhood watch has been discussed. The community will continue to work on building one in the future.

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