There's an increase in demand for Neighborhood Watch groups in Lauderdale County. Currently, there are about a dozen of these active within the county. However, there's a growing interest to establish more.
Facebook and instant messaging, these are two things that Lauderdale County Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun says are prompting the increase in demand.
'You know we live in an era today where information is almost instantaneous,' says Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun. 'Sometimes there are people who are putting information about crimes that happened at their homes on Facebook or other social media outlets before they even call us or before we ever arrive to their house. It makes it feel more personable to people and as a consequence I think they are thinking about that more.'
Calhoun says another likely reason for the increase in demand for Neighborhood Watch groups is the spike in crimes involving juveniles.
"Because juvenile crime is on the rise. It has been in our community. We see the increase not necessarily in the number of juveniles, but in the number of crimes those juveniles are committing. Many times we know that adults or young adults will use juveniles to commit crimes because they realize that if they are caught, the penalty for that juvenile is much less severe than it is for that adult."
With school back in session for most in our area, Calhoun says it's important to alert authorities if you see school age children wandering in neighborhoods.
'When you see someone of school age and they're not in school and they're out walking in the street, there's a reason. They're supposed to be in school. Now there are young people who are taught at home or who may be out for a sickness of some kind that prevents them from going to school, but they should be at their home; they shouldn't be walking around the community. One thing that is certain is that if all of us don't work together, we're going to fall individually. We've got to work together as a community to fight crime.'
Lauderdale County residents interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch in their community need to call the sheriff's department at (601) 482-9806. Be sure to tune in Sunday for our 'On The Record,' program when the Chief Deputy Calhoun shares some more crime fighting tips.