GREENSBORO, N.C. – On Saturday, the Greensboro Police Department will hold a Community Connection cookout for neighbors in the Douglas Park area. While there will be food and entrainment, it is a way to connect and hear the safety concerns of people nearby.
Neighbors Brandi Henson and Alicia Ramcharitar have connected close with their area patrol officer on Julian Street.
Lt. Calvin Stevens started working patrol in the area back in October 2016.
“I spend 40 hours a week in the district so yes it’s just as much my neighborhood as it is theirs,” Stevens said.
Stevens said that he is glad to help with concerns and said every community needs more active neighborhoods like the two mothers.
Both Henson and Ramcharitar said they both became fed up with the crime outside their home and refuse to let it interfere with their children’s lives.
“I would like to see for my kids playing in the street like we used to and they can freely go up to the store and the new Family Dollar that's been built without being hassled,” Henson said.
Ramcharitar said she sees drug dealing and prostitution near her children’s bus stop.
“That's not right. I just could turn a blind eye anymore you know?” she said.
In working with the community, the police department has made contact with the owners of the corner gas station to reduce hours overnight, is working with Duke Power to increase lighting at night, is focusing their narcotics team in the area and is cracking down on trespassing.
“They've signed letters of intent where we’ve put no trespassing signs on their property, they've signed letters to give us authority to address the issue on their property and they’re willing to go to court to make sure these people don't continue to reoffend,” Stevens said.
Since the beginning of May, there have been 61 calls for service to Guilford Metro 911 centered around the Sam’s Mart Citgo gas station on everything from armed subjects, narcotics violations, trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct.
Stevens has also been working with the City of Greensboro’s code enforcement to crack down on vacant homes that often become grounds for illegal activities.
“Sometimes the problems they have aren't true police issues but we can take it to the entities of the city that solve those problems and then work with them and even do follow-ups,” Stevens said.
While there is more work to do be done, both women say they feel safe with the help of the officers. They encourage other neighbors to get proactive and involved in their community.
“I plead and urge people stop fearing and start living, do not let life live you, you live it,” Henson said.