West Greenville sees improvement in crime over last year


GREENVILLE, Pitt County - Revitalizing West Greenville is a project many in the city hope to tackle. But for the Greenville Police Department -- they first wanted to drop the crime rate -- it's a project we've been following for the last year.

Lt. David Anderson with Greenville Police said Vance Street was the epicenter of a significant amount of violent crimes. They have seen a huge drop, a drop of 38 percent over the last year. Police said it all started with the installation of LED lights.

"Pretty much anything goes it's kind of what this neighborhood has been like for years and years that nobody cares about it. So we are trying to do things as simple as these LED lights in to show people do care about the neighborhood and we want to change the reputation," Anderson said.

It didn't stop with new lights but included hot spot patrols, problem-oriented policing and working with the community. By creating these relationships, residents feel they can call in tips and watch out for their neighbors without being fearful for themselves.

"We can sit here and be engaged with each other as neighbors and we don't have to worry about people from the outside coming in here to cause trouble because each one of our neighbors now looks out for each other," said Amelia Pledgar, who lives on Vance Street.

This mama bear of the street said the officers look to the needs of individual people and help them find long-term solutions to help better this community.

"We put those lights on the back of a house they are solar powered motion lights because she was having problems with people going back there and selling drugs so we put the lights back there," Anderson said.

Anderson said there are plans to fix up areas to physically look more inviting and help further reduce the crime rate in the West Greenville area.

"We can actually say that our street is a good street now versus the other types the stereotypes that were places this street was known to be so bad that a pizza delivery person would not even come to our street to deliver and we are working to break those barriers now," Pledgar said.

After the success in the Vance Street area, Anderson said they implemented similar tactics on Myrtle Avenue and in just six months they have seen a 25 percent drop in violent crime.