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Citizens fight crime with neighborhood watch

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

As crimes of opportunity continue to take place, some Lowndes County citizens are taking actions to avoid potential problems.

The people of Burkville are meeting those problems with a proactive approach.

The small community hosts neighborhood watch meetings regularly to keep community members informed of crimes, local projects and to form stronger relationships with neighbors.

Started in May 2007, the neighborhood watch was initially formed due to concerns about an influx of crimes and sex offenders moving into the area.

Lowndes County currently has 34 registered sex-offenders on file with the state.

Residents can go online with the Department of Public Safety to research the names and addresses of those listed.

“We want to make people aware of ongoing problems and ensure the neighborhood a safe place for everyone.” said Chequita Surles, Burkville’s acting neighborhood watch president.

Residents of Hayneville and Burkville participate in each other’s neighborhood watch programs to share ideas on how to prevent crime and continue community development, according Surles.

Members have worked diligently to have additional fire hydrants installed along Langston Hughes Drive, but Surles says that is not enough.

“Insurance can come at a high cost depending on the distance between a person’s home and the placement of fire hydrants,” said Surles.

A meeting was held as recently as January to discuss plans to apply for grants which will allow for the placement of five more fire hydrants along Fredrick Douglas Road.

“We encourage people to speak up and let their voices be heard,” said Surles.

In addition, the community of Burkville also aims to tackle clean-up programs within the area.

Residents vote at meetings to determine which areas of the neighborhood have inherent litter problems.

Burkville’s next neighborhood watch will be held Thurs., Mar. 18 at the Mt. Olive Baptist Church on FredrickDouglas Road starting at 6 p.m.