EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSSouth Hills Neighbors Gather To Stop Crime
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Kera Mashek
Web Producer: Kera Mashek
Reported: Aug. 20, 2013 10:39 PM EDT
Updated: Aug. 21, 2013 9:29 AM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A string of car vandalisms and home break-ins are part of a recent crime spree impacting Charleston's South Hills neighborhood.
Tuesday, 18-year-old Clay Matheney was arrested in connection with shooting out 14 car windows in the area.
The uptick in crime has many residents in South Hills concerned. That led to the rec center at St. Matthews episcopal church being packed Tuesday night as they hosted a community meeting with Charleston police to address the recent spike in crime.
Of course the good news, police have already busted the pellet gun bandit for shooting out car windows, and they are closing in on a suspect in the home burglaries. But the crimes now have the community on alert and learning to take steps to prevent further problems in the area.
Rottweiler mix lucy is standing guard outside a house in Charleston's South Hills neighborhood. Owner Hamad Mahmoud says this pooch is just one way he's trying to protect his property after a recent crime spree in the area.
"I have a surveillance camera here. It's the best thing. The surveillance cmaera helps a lot to monitor the house and around the house. So I recommend everybody to have it," said Mahmoud.
He doesn't want to take risks, because even though it is a pretty quiet neighborhood, vandals have hit here.
"Particularly over the weekends at night, some people throw eggs over our car or smashing the windows happened one time," said Mahmoud.
In nearby Loudon Heights and the Jamestown subdivision, a handful of homes have been broken into recently. The crime spike pushed Charleston city councilwoman Mary Jean Davis and neighbors to organize a community meeting with police, getting everyone on board to help stop criminals in their tracks.
"Well if we have more eyes on the street and more people aware and even people with a notebook in the car to jot down license plates, we may stop this. We need more eyes on the streets. We need to look after each other," said Davis.
Charleston police agree, and say there are simple steps everyone can take to help limit opportunities for criminals on the prowl.
"Light up the outside of the homes. See something, say something. You know, if you hear something suspicious, call that in. That can eliminate a lot of crime," said Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster.
And with a large group of people now willing to stay alert for anything that doesn't look right, Charleston police have good allies to prevent more problems in South Hills.
Charleston police say there's also an ongoing problem with contractors, some who may not be legitimate, approaching homeowners to make repairs. They use an initial visit as a chance to look at the property, and might come back later when no one is home to burglarize it.
It's just another reason for neighbors to report anyone or anything that's out of place, to police.
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