When it comes to taking back a neighborhood, it's better to be pro-active rather than re-active.
That's the philosophy behind the Ridgewood Park Neighborhood's Citizen's Patrol Unit.
In fact, they are quick to say there is no problem in their neighborhood and they intend to keep it that way.
The men gathered on the corner of Ridgewood Road and Greenbriar are block captains, preparing for their regular patrol of the streets of the Ridgewood Park Neighborhood in north Jackson.
"It's still light right now," Block captains' chairman, Johnny Edwards said. "Normally, we do our patrols at night."
Their vehicles are even equipped with orange lights, approved by the city.
Rodney Hall is secretary for the neighborhood association.
Hall says there is a 3-step approach to what they are trying to accomplish here:
"Observe, report and communicate to the members of the community as well as law enforcement," Hall said. "Whenever we see things that are going down that violate, you know, local city codes. And we feel like by taking this approach with the city codes, adhering to the Jackson city codes, we're actually enhancing our community and maintaining values and that's what's important today."
That means no abandoned vehicles, no trash and clutter, and manicured yards.
"We try to keep all yards cut nice and neat," Lee Freeman said.
Even if a house in this neighborhood is unoccupied, this 225 member association makes sure it doesn't look that way.
"We have everybody from 19 to 99 serving within our organization and it's important," Rodney Hall said.
8 of the 13 block captains patrol the Ridgewood Park Neighborhood 7 days a week, using flexible hours.
Lee Freeman, one of those block captains.
"Our neighborhood never really got away," Freeman said. "We're just trying to keep it safe and stop it from getting away."
"So far, we don't have no major problems in the neighborhood, except for little things from time to time; nothing that JPD can't handle," Freeman added.
And any suspicious activity is reported to the Jackson Police Department, a relationship this citizen's patrol unit praises.
"I think it's extremely important and if you want to create an environment that's safe and friendly, conducive for all the members of that community, you must take a proactive stance," Hall said.
A stance the Ridgewood Park Neighborhood Association expects, as their motto states, to "Preserve the place they call home."
The Ridgewood Park Neighborhood Association meets every third Tuesday of the month at Shoney's on County Line Road at 6:30pm.
They say they would be more than happy to share their successful formula.
You can contact Larry Little at 662-528-0563.
Let us know how we can help you take back your neighborhood.
And, if you've already turned your community around, we want to know how you did it.
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