Residents turn to community watch groups as bodies pop up around Fayetteville

Monique John Image
Thursday, October 19, 2023
People in Fayetteville turn to community watch groups to feel safer
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In time for crime prevention month, Monique John learns how neighbors in Fayetteville are teaming up for safety.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- People in Fayetteville say they're leaning on their community watch groups after several bodies have been found along Bragg Boulevard.

But they say having neighbors looking out for each other is a small source of comfort.

Jeanette Strickland said her watch group for the Cumberland Heights neighborhood has been alleviating her anxieties about the bodies being found near her home, but she's still on edge.

"It just makes you more vigilant. Lock your doors, lock your cars," Strickland said.

"It used to be that you'd hear about that on the river, or somewhere out further outside of the community," said Bill Stewart, another member of the Cumberland Heights Community Watch. "And now they're getting closer. It's almost like they're moving in on us."

Strickland and Stewart said their watch group will be talking to police about patrolling the area more. Levincent Sutton of the Orange Street Community Watch also said they'll be talking to authorities about taking greater action to support vulnerable people along the boulevard.

RELATED: Fayetteville PD addresses public fears about bodies found on Bragg Boulevard

"There's also been some talk with the police department. I think it's getting some mental health specialists because, in a lot of cases, a lot of these people suffer from mental health," Sutton said.

Sutton also said the community watch group will talk to police about its new SoundThinking technology.

"We'd like a review of how it's been effective or not been effective," Sutton said.

Fayetteville police said there are 170 community groups in the city, but Strickland said there should be more.

"I think that more neighborhoods need to get together and realize the importance of having a community watch," she said. "And then they would realize that they have the support of the safety officers and the police."

Stewart has advice for anyone who wants to start their own watch group.

"Get to know everybody. That's how you gather the people together. Once you have that communication and people know that you're willing to help them out and work with them, it makes them feel more comfortable, makes them want to show up."

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