JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Ray Hartfield has been living in Northwest Jackson's Woodhaven subdivision for 33 years. Crime in the area has never been out of hand, but to keep it that way, he's spearheaded a new patrol effort. "We're out to observe, record, report," he says.
Hartfield is doing just that Saturday with our crew, driving the streets and keeping his eye out. He will patrol with a partner, and if they see anything suspicious, one of them will write it down.
"Once we observe anything criminal, we call police and they immediately respond," says Cecil Jones, another resident.
More than a dozen others wore the same white shirt at a gathering Saturday morning, officially launching the neighborhood's citizens patrol. It's a joint effort with the full support of Jackson Police Chief Rebecca Coleman, and the entire police department.
"This will help the beat officers as they patrol," says JPD Commander Ron Sampson, who also lives in Woodhaven. He says property crime is the issue. "Some larcenies, burglaries that have taken place over a period of time," he says.
The police department hopes other neighborhoods will unite and form their own volunteer citizens patrol. It's a way to spot crime as it happens, or at least plant a little fear in those who think they can get away with it. "To really make this a zero crime area. We're not gonna tolerate anything," Hartfield says of their goal.
Citizens patrol members will spend a week at the Jackson Police Academy, learning key skills.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.