By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 11, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — According to the Tallahassee Police Department, the city saw a seven percent decrease in crime from 2017 to 2018.
And, some neighborhoods are feeling the drop more than others, including the Bond community.
"Me growing up here as a child and still visiting, my mom lives here, I'm pretty proud of the neighborhood,” said Wendell Jenkins. "I have seen a change in the crime in the area, it's been lowered, I believe."
During a presentation to the Southside community on Thursday, Police Chief Michael DeLeo noted that Bond was considered a crime “hot spot” in 2017. That designation was given based on various statistics including the number of arrests, number of calls, types of crimes, population density and much more. However, in 2018 the area lost that designation. DeLeo said that is because of community involvement and an increased focus on the neighborhood.
“The key is what does the community want? And how involved do they want to be,” said DeLeo. “If you walk down to where Speeds used to be and where people considered an eyesore and a nuisance, there’s nobody there now hanging out and creating problems.”
He attributes the change to various efforts including the installation of security cameras on several corners in Bond. Some residents agree.
"It deters.(People) get in the area where there's a camera and they do stupid stuff. Well hopefully the camera will catch it. Because they don’t understand how serious a gun is. And that was my concern about my mom,” said Jenkins.
DeLeo also noted the closure of Speeds Grocery Store, which was often linked to drug busts in the area. And, he said stronger engagement with residents has made a big difference.
"I'm one of the neighbors in this area that if something doesn't look right, smell right or seem right, I'm on the phone,” said Bond resident Reginuer Perkins.
Perkins said he often helps the police by reporting suspicious activity and hopes others will do the same. He said he’s noticed a big difference in his neighborhood since the increase in efforts by police and the community.
"Sometimes they have officers walking the beat, or just riding around doing bike patrol. The guys that are not on the right path and nefarious, that sends a chill through their bones,” said Perkins.
Last year, the city launched the Neighborhood Public Safety Initiative in Bond, which enlists residents to assist with public safety through beautification efforts. The city plans to replicate the initiative in South City next.