By: Emma Wheeler | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 15, 2019
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Residents in the Azalea City are paving the way towards safer neighborhoods.
Valdosta city officials are looking to bring back neighborhood watch programs, but this time with an emphasis on action.
City officials said participation in neighborhood watch programs has decreased over the last few years, but now organizers are teaming up with the Valdosta Police Department to start bringing them back.
One of those areas is in District 1, on the northeast side of Valdosta.
Joe Mingo has lived in the district for nearly a decade. He says it's a safe and quiet neighborhood, and they don't have much crime as is, but he welcomes the new program.
"It's good for neighbors to look after other neighbors," Mingo said. "It could happen at any time. When you're not home or you're out somewhere, and some neighbor's looking out for you, that gives you some type of reassurance that your home is going to be protected."
The program is called 'Neighborhood Action Associations.' The district started up with its first meeting last month. The program is an effort to get people involved and take care of each other.
Raymond Shepard has been a District 1 resident for more than 20 years. He reiterated that he feels safe in the area, but said he hopes the program can be a learning experience for other residents.
"Situation awareness more than anything," Shepard said. "Maybe we'll get to know what neighbors that we don't really know, we'll get to know them a little better."
Revitalizing the programs is just getting started, but city officials hope the effort expands to neighborhoods all across the city.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program can contact the Valdosta Neighborhood Development Department or the Valdosta Police Department.