Editor: I am writing to discuss safety in Liberty County neighborhoods, particularly those neighborhoods of Hinesville.
This letter is a response to what I perceive as an increase in crime in my own community.
My neighborhood of Sherwood Forest has always been relatively safe. To my knowledge, there are no persons with any felonies or pertinent criminal histories residing in my neighborhood, but that does not mean it is without crime.
This year alone, there have been three crimes within my neighborhood. The crimes were spaced out in the time they were committed, but this number of crimes for a quiet community such as mine is concerning nonetheless.
No one was physically harmed in any of these crimes, but they were all still traumatic for residents of this community and the victims. All three crimes were home invasions; two I heard about word of mouth, while one occurred directly across the street from me, to people I know very well.
They were very shocked to have their lives infringed upon in this manner, and I could empathize with them since I was once a victim of robbery in a different country.
When the robbery occurred, I and my family bought an alarm system, and left our home much less frequently. We felt unsafe, almost as if we would never be able to leave our house again, and were worried about it happening again; fortunately it didn’t, and we were eventually able to recover.
While I don’t think criminal activity is on the rise in my community per se, these events have made me sit down to consider how a community and its individuals can defend against such crimes as robbery.
The easiest answer is purchasing an alarm system, but many of those are flawed as they are traditionally wired to your house, and are dependent upon your house having power. Particularly crafty burglars can cut power to your house to easily disable alarms.
Firearms are one method, but don’t protect from crime — rather, they’re mostly only useful during a crime. Also, not many people are comfortable with the idea of firearms, or taking a life.
Neighborhood watch programs are effective, but only if most or all of the community participates. If members of a community don’t talk to each other often, or warn each other of suspicious persons or activity, then the effects of a neighborhood watch program become null.
Ultimately, I think the best method of crime prevention is increased police involvement in local communities. I have witnessed the police patrolling my community and some others on various occasions, but it always seemed infrequent. My proposal is a program that has police patrol neighborhoods at both specific and random intervals during the day.
I believe having the police patrol neighborhoods at specific periods of time would allow people more access to officers if needed, while having the officers also patrol during random periods would prevent potential criminals from getting used to their schedules.
The patrol periods would be morning (three times from 6-9 a.m.), noon/afternoon (three times from noon to 3 p.m.), evening (three times from 6 to 9 p.m.), and late night (three times from midnight to 3 a.m.).
These shifts would be evenly divided between four police officers (four different officers each week), as to not severely increase the workload of any one officer.
Not only do I believe these measures would reduce crime in neighborhoods, I think it would also familiarize citizens with members of law enforcement, reducing apprehension between the two groups. I understand a program like this would not be completely feasible (if at all), but I think it would help foster unity between and understanding between the police force and members of my community and others.