Sometimes it takes crime to get people to stand up for crime prevention.
When Havelock Police responded to a call from some residents for a community watch meeting in Slocum Village a year ago, no one expressed interest.
But a recent rash of crimes in the neighborhood has raised concerns, and residents vow to be there at 5:30 p.m. today at the community center on Jackson Drive for a new meeting.
“This is the second time we’ve tried to do this out there,” said Capt. David Bratton of the Havelock Police Department. “The first time they called us and we went out there and set the meeting up and everything, nobody showed up. There was absolutely no interest in it, so we’re trying to do it again.”
Bratton hopes residents will form the community watch for Slocum Village, which is exclusively populated by military personnel and their dependents but patrolled by Havelock police.
“We realize with the wives whose husbands are deployed, we understand that there is some nervousness out there,” Bratton said. “We’re increasing our patrols. We’re trying to be proactive with this and get ahead of their concerns.”
Slocum residents called for the meeting with the police after recent crimes in the neighborhood.
On Sept. 26, resident Kerena Pye found that her family car on Sycamore Lane had had all four tires stolen off it overnight.
“I had to explain to my three children why a bad guy took our tires,” Pye said. “I told them that there are lots of bad guys out there and that maybe they needed the money for something, but that it’s never a good reason to steal from somebody else.”
She said she and her Marine husband purchased a cheap set of tires for the 2004 Cavalier to last until insurance money arrived.
A few weeks earlier, Pye said she found the gas lid open on the vehicle and gas siphoned out of the tank.
“We bought locking lug nuts and locking gas caps for each of the vehicles,” Pye said.
Pye said she doesn’t feel safe and the family has already put in 30 days notice to leave the neighborhood.
“I’ve lived in Slocum for five years now, and within the past year it (crime) has picked up,” she said. “It’s just little things. It was car break-ins a little while ago. Some people were having their doors randomly opened but nobody came inside and actually stole anything. It’s very quickly picking up.”
Ashley Duncan, who lives with her Marine husband on Nandina Lane, said the family has had an attempted break-in and a break-in at her home.
“They came in my back door and they exited through my front door,” she said. “I heard them and woke my husband up and they heard us and I guess they took off out the front door.”
In the other case, Duncan said she heard someone shaking her back door just minutes after her husband left for work at the base.
“I came down the stairs just in time to see somebody running out my back gate,” Duncan said.
Duncan said it was still dark, but described the person as a white male with brown hair.
“My neighbor had said she had seen somebody in the backyard with a flashlight not even a couple minutes before my husband had left,” Duncan said.
Last week, a home was broken into and keys were stolen, Bratton said.
“It’s kind of scary,” said Courtney Whitney, who lives on Camelia Lane. “A lot of people seem to think that because we’re military we’re good to go, we’re safe, but that’s false especially with everything that’s been happening lately. Some women do decide to stay back when they are deployed. Some women are pregnant and can’t fight back. It’s just scary.
“I have had friends that have their gas stolen and stuff. Nothing has happened to me. My concern is who’s to say they won’t make their way to my street. The fact that he’s leaving and I have decided to stay here has kind of startled me because it’s just me and my 2 1/2-pound dog and my 1-year-old. It’s scary to think that there’s some stuff happening in my neighborhood.”
Sara Costa, on Cypress Lane, said nothing has happened to her home but that while house-sitting for a neighbor, a break-in occurred in which a laptop computer was stolen.
“Also in the area, we’ve had a couple of people on several other streets that have had their cars broken into, things stolen out of their cars and vandalized,” she said. “Some patio furniture went missing from a girl just two houses down from me. We have children and some of these girls have husbands gone or soon will be gone and how are they supposed to feel safe here.”
Bratton said residents should report even the smallest incident to police.
“If residents think that people are jiggling on their doors, even if they are not sure, they should call us and we’ll be happy to send an officer by to check on them,” Bratton said.
Costa said action is needed.
“It’s got to stop somehow because nobody feels safe and that’s not OK,” she said. “We have to deal with enough with husbands and wives gone on deployment and off on training for months at a time. We don’t need to feel unsafe in our houses.”
“Anything would be helpful at this point,” she said. “It’s getting to the point to where you don’t even want to be home alone.”