Multi-agency effort to fight crime in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – People who live in Greensboro's Overland Heights area say they're accustomed to hearing gunshots and seeing violence in their neighborhood.

"Every time you come out, somebody got killed over here," said Pamela Baker, who has lived in the area four months. "I can't come out my own house without being in danger."

A Feb. 5 homicide and Feb. 20 homicide caught the attention of many in the neighborhood.

"You can't even walk down the road," Baker said. "I have grandkids and brothers and sisters. And I don't think it's fair for us."

Now, a multi-agency effort in Greensboro is hoping to tackle the issues of violence and all the root causes of them.

Greensboro Police Deputy Chief James Hinson said on March 1, the department kicked off a 90-day initiative.

He explained it will include going door-to-door to hear residents' concerns, targeting repeat offenders and creating long-term solutions.

Community Resources Officer Greg Kiser is one of the officers who has and will continue to go door-to-door to engage with members of the Overland Heights community.

"They deserve to enjoy their home just like anybody else in any other neighborhood," he said.

Kiser said the initiative will focus on cleaning up the neighborhood, because oftentimes poorly-maintained facilities can contribute to an increase in crime.

"If it looks like nobody cares about the community, then an element will move in that does not care about the community. We know there are people there that do care, and we are trying to help them," Kiser said.

Mattresses and discarded furniture litters the sides of the road around Overland Heights, but Kiser said the Department of Sanitation has committed to getting involved to clean that up.

He also said Duke Energy is looking to improve lighting in the area, possibly by adding LED bulbs. Kiser said the Parks and Recreation Department will trim trees to improve the existing lights' visibility.

The effort will run through May. Deputy Chief Hinson said after that, officers will continue with long-term plans to improve the area.