Sheriff Robert Arnold speaks with residents from the Big Springs Community about preventing crime during a Jan. 9, 2014, Neighborhood Watch meeting in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (Photo submitted)
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Retirees John and Colleen Dwyer didn’t know many people when they moved to Rutherford County eight years ago.
But they quickly became part of their community when they joined the Big Springs Community Neighborhood Watch.
John Dwyer said Neighborhood Watch gives them a chance to meet their neighbors. And Colleen Dwyer said they’ve found camaraderie, community involvement and a sense of security.
“The more you know your neighbors, the safer your neighborhood is,” Colleen Dwyer said. “We have a phone tree and do emails when there’s a problem.”
Sgt. Jimmy Cassidy, of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Community Services Unit, said the Big Springs Community is probably the most active group in the area.
Neighborhood Watch is a program that brings residents together to watch out for one another and teaches homeowners how to make their property less of a target. Currently, there are about 80 groups in Rutherford County.
Past treasurer Mary Elaine Hargis said the group formed in 1996 but folded when they couldn’t get a president about two years later.
The group reorganized in June 2000 when Larry and Nancy Carter offered the New Hope Baptist Church as a meeting place. They meet the second Thursday every other month with a covered dish dinner.
“You find interest in the security of your property like interests in the security of their property,” Hargis said.
During each meeting, Sheriff’s Office representatives give residents updates about crime trends.
Sheriff Robert Arnold described some of the programs offered by the department for the community, such as the Sheriff’s Citizens Academy to teach residents about the Sheriff’s Office’s operations and the Senior Citizens Awareness Network where volunteers check on senior citizens for safety and security.
Some asked for more patrol cars to drive through the community.
Arnold said both marked and unmarked patrol vehicles are patrolling through the county to keep residents safe and prevent burglaries and theft.
Cassidy informed residents they could view Raids online to get information about crime in the community.
Also, residents can register on the Sheriff’s Office’s Offender Watch website to identify registered sex offenders and where they live.
In this way, parents and neighbors will know if a sex offender lives in there area and get alerts when sex offenders move into a community.
Detective Richard Brinkley, whose zone includes the Big Springs Community, discussed an increase of home burglaries between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. when people are working and not at home.
“They’re going for the gold because it’s so easy to get rid of,” Brinkley said, explaining burglars can sell the gold and earn thousands of dollars per day.
Brinkley said citizens who want to install security cameras at their homes might want a trail camera or a deer camera costing about $100.
“We’ve solved several cases with them,” Brinkley said.
Citizens who see people acting suspiciously should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 615-898-7770 so that a patrol deputy can check out the situation, he said.
He said residents who are burglary victims are asked not to touch anything because they might destroy evidence. Call the Sheriff’s Office.
For more information about Neighborhood Watch, call 615-904-3018.