GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Across the Piedmont Triad, there’s been a push to get people to work with local law enforcement agencies to create safer communities.
On Thursday night, Greensboro’s police chief stressed how important this effort is during one of his latest input meetings. One way to help is with community watch programs. There are about 100 of them in the city. One of those is in the Old Starmount neighborhood on the west side.
It’s been active for nearly 20 years, and one of the coordinators said the work they do has helped cut down on crime.
“I’m proud to say just recently, we’ve not had any criminal activity of any kind, so we’re doing something right,” Bev Andrews said.
For the past 12 years, Andrews has organized the Old Starmount neighborhood’s community watch group. Every month, she sends out newsletters with information to about 400 homes in the area.
“Everybody is working with the same goal to keep everybody else safe,” Andrews said. “It’s not being nosy. It’s actually just watching out for your neighbor.”
It’s a group of people who work with law enforcement to reduce crime where they live. They’re trained to recognize and report suspicious activity.
“We’re the eyes and ears of the police,” Andrews said.
It’s been helpful while the Greensboro Police Department deals with an officer shortage.
On Thursday night, Greensboro Police Chief John Thompson held his fourth community meeting at the Peeler Center and told the crowd that he’s down 117 officers.
“We want to meet the community demands, but there are challenges when we have that significant shortage of staffing,” he said.
Of the 65 people who attended the meeting, many had the same concerns.
“I’m very much concerned about the crime rate,” said Cynthia Farrington, who came to the meeting.
Farrington listened as Chief Thompson shared how he needs the community’s support to attract officers to Greensboro. She’s part of a neighborhood watch group, and others in the crowd at the meeting are thinking of starting them.
“As much as we may not like losing neighbors, nosy neighbors often help us…keeping the track on…people coming in and out of the neighborhood,” said Tyler Beall, whose neighborhood has had a conversation about creating a group.
As someone who’s run one for more than a decade, Andrews has heard firsthand from officers how it helps ease their workload.
“They’re very, very appreciative, and they definitely realize the advantages of a community watch,” she said.
If you’re interested in starting a community watch in your Greensboro neighborhood, click here.