Aug. 5, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM)-With lights flashing and sirens blaring, the procession of police cars moves throughout the city for National Night Out.
Four teams fanned out across dozens of neighborhoods to meet with citizens who have taken it upon themselves to band together and help prevent crime.
"National Night Out does lots of things for the neighborhoods...it helps them talk about what's going on, plus it gives police a chance to come out and visit on a non-stress, non-911 call," said Officer Randy Brown with the Columbus Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit.
"Sometimes it's hard to communicate between community and police, but through the neighborhood watch, we have a direct link with them," said Walter Washington of the Edgewood Neighborhood Watch.
One of the biggest success stories can be seen in the Hilton Heights community...
Plagued by burglaries and car thefts in the past, the formation of a neighborhood watch has put more people on alert and helped cut down on crime.
"We're much more apt to make a phone call, report suspicious activity, or get a tag number. We are responsible for five arrests...our information led to arrests that would not have been made without the association," said Will Burgin of the Hilton Heights Neighborhood Watch.
"This is important to law enforcement, because we can't do everything on our own, we have to have eyes and ears of the community," said Ralph Johnson, the Muscogee County Sheriff.
Over four hours, police and sheriff's deputies visited 25 different neighborhoods around the city who all have successful neighborhood watch groups.