Taking back our neighborhood: Chesterfield - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Taking back our neighborhood: Chesterfield

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

Meadowbrook Estates is a neighborhood with random patrols, a log book of criminal activity, and police on speed dial, thanks to neighborhood watch volunteers.

The neighbors in Meadowbrook Estates don't tolerate crime, and they have worked to take back their neighborhood. There are signs everywhere warning crooks that this is a neighborhood watch area.       

"It says six youths were trespassing at their pool property," said neighborhood watch president, Julius Higgins reading an example from his log book. Team members record every incident spotted in the book, so it can be tracked, and if necessary, reported. "Let's say if I was coming on today, I could read the narrative and say, 'ok, this is what happened and I know what to look for.' Communication is the key. Education is power."

The neighborhood has a list of roaming drivers. They're all residents who give two hours of time to drive around the area, and look for anything suspicious.

"Drive around and look at the houses," Ward Baker explained as he drove in the neighborhood. "And talk to the residents. I just look to see if any unusual activity for instance. You look around, under the bushes, and if I see anything, I just make a note and then we call it in to the police."

There's also a team to pick up trash, and a group of residents who promise to keep a watchful eye out the window, too. Police say that involvement is paying off.  

"This neighborhood has come full circle," Cpl. Scott Gordon with the Chesterfield Police said. "When I started 24 years ago as a police officer it had it's issues and it was things like a little bit of blight and people weren't taking care of their properties like they should."

Blight is of particular concern, because it often leads to other crimes. But police say since Meadowbrook Estates took on this watch, there have been fewer crimes.

"We can travel without worrying about the home or vandalism or anything else," explained Melvin Diaz, a five-year resident. "We can take walks at any given time of the day or evening and feel safe. And that's a big part of it. Is just feeling safe. Being safe. "

Not to mention, police say these neighbors are actually reporting problems, something that seems intuitive, but doesn't always happens. And that means police can respond immediately. 

"They look out and they report things to us, so we have eyes and ears all over the place," added Huggins.

Now, police just hope other neighbors will take note and sign up to fight crime too.

"Anybody anywhere in the county can make this happen," said Gordon. "It doesn't matter where."

If you want to start a neighborhood watch in Chesterfield County, all you need to do is call 904-706-2662.             

Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved

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