After Rape and Shooting, Residents Form Neighborhood Watch - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/22/04

After Rape and Shooting, Residents Form Neighborhood Watch

Two violent crimes in less than a month are bringing a community together. Folks living at Edgewater Trace are trying to help themselves and help police. After a 19-year-old was gunned down in the parking lot Monday and a rape occurred just a couple weeks earlier, Edgewater Trace residents are getting together to form a neighborhood watch and work closer with police as a group.

Tuesday afternoon, police arrested 18-year-old Raymond Norman, charging him with the murder of 19-year-old Matthew Johnson. Just a couple hours later, the people who live at the apartment complex where the shooting happened got together with police to talk about protecting themselves.

Most people maintain Edgewater Trace is generally a safe area, but there's always room for improvement. "When you come into the building, sometimes those lights are out," said resident Monica Jones. "So that's still not safe, the hallway lights are out."

Police were on hand to let people know that no matter how trivial it may seem, they're allowed to call and have officers come check the situation out. "We would rather come out and check call after call after call and it be nothing, than that one call where we have somebody injured," explained Cpl. Terri Walden with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department.

The group that met last night says the most important thing is sticking together beyond this initial meeting.

Resident Catherine Denny said they're "looking forward to forming a neighborhood watch so we can get to know who our neighbors are and we will be more familiar with those people who do not belong in this community."

"Another big issue is making sure you know your neighbors across and your neighbors downstairs, because my husband is out in the field all the time, so I can call my neighbors and say 'I heard a noise. Do you hear that?'" said neighbor Vanesha Mack.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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