Fort Mitchell residents are fighting crime with new program -, GA News Weather & Sports

Fort Mitchell residents are fighting crime with new program


Less than two weeks after a Fort Benning soldier accidentally shot himself while fending off a home invader, one East Alabama community is coming together to try to keep crimes like this from happening again by organizing a neighborhood watch program.

Everywhere you look in Fort Mitchell, it is construction and new homes.  While families are moving in, so is crime.

"It was costing me anywhere from $200 to $500 a week to pay back the stores where I was doing my work.  I had equipment in my yard people were stealing.  They broke into my building twice," said Donald Taapken, a Fort Mitchell resident.

That is why he and other community members came to the first Neighborhood Watch meeting in Fort Mitchell.

"Your parents and your grandparents sat out at the evening and talked to everybody, and everybody knew what everybody else was doing.  And, we've gotten so busy now that we don't care what our neighbors are [doing].  Half the time, we don't even know what our neighbors' names are.  We need to go back to taking care of one another," said Eric Woodson.

People are concerned about everything from home invasions, like the one nearby that injured a Fort Benning soldier last month, to door-to-door salesmen scams.

"If we don't act together as a group of people who want a better society, things won't get better.  They will definitely get worse," said Sergeant Rod Costello with the Russell County Sheriff's Office.

Costello encourages everyone to keep an eye out for one another, and if they have any suspicions, call 911.

"We have to quit enabling people to take advantage of us.  We have to quit allowing people to say that is an easy target.  Don't be an easy target."

Taapken agrees.

"I'd hope the people would pay attention to what's going on around them.  That's the important thing.  No matter if you're here or in town or wherever.  You've got to know what's going on around you."

Costello says that you should always call law enforcement first before taking the situation into your own hands.

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