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‘Enough is enough’: How a neighborhood watch program could eradicate crime on Farr Rd.

Officials also discussed how they plan to take back control of the city and implement stiffer punishments for repeat offenders
‘Enough is enough’: How a neighborhood watch program could eradicate crime on Farr Rd.
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 10:34 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Top city officials gathered at a south Columbus church caught in the crossfire of a weekend shooting two weeks ago.

On March 2, officials came to meet with members of the community to talk about solutions to ending the growing crime and violence in that area.

Talks are underway to establish a neighborhood watch program near Farr Road. But authorities have other plans in mind to send a very clear message that enough is enough.

Farr Road in south Columbus has been the site of several shootings. Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, which was caught in the crossfire of one of those shootings, held a community meeting.

“I’m here to listen. I’m here to get a good understanding of what they are dealing with in the neighborhoods,” said Mayor Skip Henderson.

Mayor Henderson alongside City Manager Isaiah Hughley, District 3 Councilman Bruce Huff, Police Chief Freddie Blackmon, Assistant Chief of Police Joyce Dent-Fitzpatrick and Sheriff Greg Countryman came out to support and listen to southside Columbus’ residents.

“I hate to see what’s going on across the street and having bullets flying into the church is unacceptable to me,” said south Columbus resident Robin Robinson.

Robinson said she grew up going to Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church. In light of recent shootings at the Chevron gas station next door, she wants to be captain of the neighborhood watch program that could be established in the area. Currently, there are over 60 neighborhood watch programs throughout the city.

“Statistics show that those that have an active neighborhood watch group -- meaning they actively participate, they meet, they talk to one another -- crime reduces by 16 to 26%,” said Sergeant Angela Florence with the Columbus Police Department. Sgt. Florence oversees the city’s neighborhood watch programs.

Along with the tips from the community, nearly 2,000 high-tech cameras are currently being installed in crime hotspots, like south Columbus.

One question asked during the meeting was whether or not any of the gun violence is gang-related. Chief Freddie Blackmon says most of the 2021 murders were family violence or domestic related, some were drug related and 10 were gang-related.

“In just this past month, we have arrested 11 individuals,” said Chief Blackmon. “We’ve made about 20 cases.”

Another arm of law enforcement intent on getting gang members off the street is the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.

“We have targeted about 100 individuals and we have probably put in custody about 20,” said Sheriff Greg Countryman.

Sheriff Countryman says he’s working with federal agents to send these criminals out-of-state to federal prison.

“I want them gone from our community,” said Sheriff Countryman. “Enough is enough.”

Before that neighborhood watch can be established near Farr Road, Sergeant Angela Florence says they need at least 75% participation from South Columbus residents. There will be another meeting to discuss the program soon.

News Leader 9 will be sure to keep you posted.

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