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Neighborhood watch group revamped after uptick in violent crime

LAWRENCE, Ind. (WISH) – An uptick in violent crime in one Lawrence neighborhood has police and people living in the area concerned. 

Because of it, the Brookhaven community is looking to revamp its neighborhood watch group. 

The effort to revamp the Brookhaven neighborhood watch program has been in the works for months, but became even more of a pressing issue after the murder of 63-year-old William Bowling on Sunday.

People living in Brookhaven say they are afraid to go outside. 

Nearly 50 people attended the Brookhaven outreach meeting Thursday night at the Lawrence United Methodist Church. 

Worried residents described to police a declining neighborhood over the past few years riddled with everything from speeding, to drug deals and shootings.

“It’s a lot,” said Brookhaven resident, Annie Scott. “Kids getting in gangs, gun firing, the elderly are scared to come out. People are scared.”

“You don’t know if a bullet is going to come through your house or what!” Brookhaven resident, Kay Farmer said.

“It’s the one that are selling the drugs and guns in the parks and down at the gas stations,” concerned resident, Amy Covington said. “Those are bleeding out into our community. That’s a threat to us.”

Lawrence Police are seeing the trend, too.

The city normally sees between two to four homicides a year. Already in 2018, there have been three homicides, and it’s only June.

That’s exactly why police held Thursday’s meeting in an effort to not only strengthen the relationship with the public, but also revamp the neighborhood’s watch group which hasn’t been active in several years.

“I think what it will result in is a positive relationship and a reduction in crime,” Lawrence Police Chief David Hofmann said. “Probably more important than that, a reduction in that fear that people have sometimes when neighborhoods are teetering on the balance of peace and violence. We are not going to tolerate what’s been going on for the past months or so in Brookhaven.”

Lawrence Police say they have already stepped up patrols in the area to cut back on crime.

The crime watch group will meet monthly with police.

The next meeting is July 10.

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