ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–When you’re not home, who is watching out for your property?
Neighborhood watches are popping up all across our viewing area. One of the largest in the state is in Onslow County.
The Fox Trace neighborhood boasts 373 homes in its watch program.
“We started about three years ago,” Carol Pegram, neighborhood watch coordinator, said. “The crime we have around here is just teenage pranks.”
All 373 homes are trained on looking out for potential crimes like burglary, violence and drugs.
“Animal control comes out and trains us on what the animal control ordinances are, the fire department trains us for fire prevention and the Onslow County Women’s Center came and trained us for domestic violence prevention,” Pegram said.
Neighborhood watches only work through partnership with local law enforcement.
“Without communication, it would not be very beneficial,” Sheriff Hans Miller said. “There has to be a trust between citizens and law enforcement.”
Pegram and her team start canvassing their neighborhood in April to get new members in the program. They won’t be finished until September.
“They don’t want their house broken into; they want to know what they can do to prevent that,” she said. “They want to look out for their neighbors but they don’t want to tattle tell on their neighbors and the way to do that is reporting what you see.”
It’s important to note the folks in the 107 watch programs in the county aren’t taking the law into their own hands.
There’s protocol to follow.
“Note the date, the time, what you observed, what vehicle, what the individual looks like and call it into dispatch so we can get a law enforcement officer into that area,” Sheriff Miller said.
If you’d like to set up a neighborhood watch in your area, you can contact the sheriff’s office.