At Week’s End – December 30, 2011 – Columbus, MS Facebook Watch

McGruff the Crime Dog

McGruff the Crime Dog

Social media is the new wave, and never has that been more apparent as this week with the creation of a new brand of local Neighborhood Watch called Columbus, MS Facebook Watch. The brainchild of Lynn Sanders Nordquist, it was born out of the need to share information about the criminal events that are occurring in our community. The Facebook group’s tagline is simple and direct:

This group is to keep all of us informed about the crime going on in our area. Please feel free to post so we can all know what is going on. Thanks.

Lynn was very open in her response to way she started the page. “I did it, because I did not think the media or the police departments were sharing information. I had to hear about the burglaries from people in my neighborhood. I had never been scared in my own home before now.”

Like a bolt, her new page struck fast and with great power. As of today, the group has 1570 members and is still growing. It is a collection of Columbus and Lowndes County residents who believe that our community is not as safe as it should or could be. As with most groups created with such force, there is a sense of frustration with the crime, law enforcement, their neighbors and the media.

Columbus and Lowndes County are conservative areas, and crime is not tolerated. As a matter of fact, crime is seen as a personal affront on the individual, and each crime is taken personally. Also, law enforcement is held accountable at a high level in our community. No excuses; our region believes it is law enforcement’s responsibility to keep our homes and streets safe.

It is a great feeling to have a community so concerned about what is occurring to others; however, it creates a greater responsibility for law enforcement and the media to address the concerns of the citizens. Crime moves with an ebb and flow, and is often hard to predict, so it is imperative that law enforcement and the media be aware of community concerns before crime occurs. Without this foresight, the media and police departments seem inept.

A solid Police Department, Sheriff’s Office or media cannot not seem surprised and uncaring when crime strikes. It has to be aware that our community is going to be upset and ready to rally around the cause of crime prevention.  And, the citizens want answers to why crime is happening. Without these answers, the organizations involved look impotent.

In a time when our community had five murders committed quickly with four of them unsolved, it is understandable that the community is concerned. Add a rash of burglaries in both the city and county, and anyone could see where you have outcry for more crime prevention and answers from law enforcement. The Facebook Watch page is a great way for the community to show their support and concern.

The media also has their responsibility, since many members of the group do not feel that all the crime is being reported or reported correctly. It is important that all media outlets, without hidden agenda, report the reality of what is occurring. Even if it makes people uncomfortable, the media must report the good, the bad and the ugly. The truth is that answers such as, “we are forming a task force,” and, “we are working on it, and we might make an arrest,” do not make be people feel confident about a Police Department’s ability to solve a crime. And, the media must keep up the pressure to ensure that our community is informed.

Most importantly, however, is that our law enforcement leaders, Sheriff Arledge and Chief McQueen, take this new form of Neighborhood Watch seriously. It is not the future. It is the now! Social Media rules. And, if it is not taken seriously, don’t be surprised if the monster that bites you in the butt is the ant you ignored!

Columbus, MS Facebook Watch can be reached here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/163840387050096/

Joseph St. John

A/K/A Mr. MoJo Rising

NOTES:

New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. If you choose to go out, have fun Saturday night, but be careful and make sure you have a designated driver. The Real Story will be out taking photos of New Year’s Eve events, and we hope to see everyone being good!

Happy New Year to everyone!!!

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6 Comments on “At Week’s End – December 30, 2011 – Columbus, MS Facebook Watch”

  1. Matilduh Mellows Says:

    I have heard it said on many occasions that when police were called the officers did not take them seriously, actually blew them off. Did not take any names or addresses and did not write down anything. They present an attitude of total disinterest.

    Reply

  2. John A. Andresen Says:

    this is a good thing. Our group Cecil and Vance St. group been in efect 5 years this comeing April. and since Cheif St. John was demoted we have noitce a increase in activity end in our area in East Columbus.

    Reply

  3. Tommy Gentry Says:

    If Bo Harris had been elected, you bet he would return calls and be on the scene, not behind the desk.

    Bo Harris has walked over every square inch of Lowndes county and “knows where the bodies are buried.” Just a figure of speech, mind you.

    Reply

  4. Tommy Gentry Says:

    Chief~

    Why not form your own Take A Bite Out of Crime “org?” And publish “mugshots.”

    If we don’t get from you, we’ll just get it from the latest “Jailhouse News.”

    Reply

  5. Tommy Gentry Says:

    The key to exposing criminal activity in Lowndes county is through surveillance via covert technology and game cameras provide a cheap way to achieve this.
    Then post them to your site.

    It’s obvious that LCSO deputies are not going to do the “gumshoe” detective work that is necessary to follow up on criminality activity.. And I know of many who have been ignored when trying to offer clues .

    Back about ten years ago, our neighbor’s residence was burglarized by Monkeyman and guns were stolen, Tony Cooper was the investigating officer. Ater Tony did his “windhield/clipboard” inspection,taking an inventory of what was stolen, he was leaving,and my neighbor asked him he was finished.

    He said that he was and my neighbor said , “Don’t you want the serial numbers of the stolen guns?”

    I’ve been a victim of theft, vandalism and burglaries amounting to over $10,000 in the past f twenty years in Crawford,. What happens in Crawford, stays in Crawford.

    Reply

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