• Neighborhood watch groups increasing in Memphis communities

    By: Siobhan Riley

    Updated:

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Neighborhood watch groups in the Raleigh-Frayser community helped warn families of the serial rapist who’s now behind bars.  

    The number of neighborhood watch groups increased this year.  There are nearly 60 neighborhood watch groups in the Raleigh-Frayser community.    

    People said abandoned homes where the grass is tall, that’s a place where criminals hang out.

    Joe Houlihan, who has lived in Raleigh for more than 50 years, rides his bicycle past tall grass and abandoned homes every day in his neighborhood.  

    “I’ve seen it go down at a rapid pace with all these boarded-up homes around the area,” he said. 

    That’s why neighborhood watch groups are vital in his community. There’s 56 active groups in the community. That’s up 15 since 2017.

    “Police can only do so much as far as policing the neighborhoods, a lot of what’s going on should be in the hands of the citizens in this city,” Houlihan added.


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    Lt. Gregory Sanders with the Old Allen Police Precinct says neighborhood watch groups helped solve a lot of crimes in the area he serves.   

    They also played a role in making sure people were alert of the man accused of luring women into abandoned homes recently and raping them.

    “I’m not certain if it played a direct role in catching the person but It did make people a little more diligent and observant and looking around and noticing suspicious activity,” said Raleigh Joint Agency Coordinator Rhonda Logan.

    Logan said when Kenyon Johnson was on the run, people in the neighborhood watch groups immediately took to the website “NextDoor” which allows people to know what’s going on in their neighborhood. 

    People who live there said it made a difference.

    Neighborhood watch groups have already spent time cleaning up the blight like and are hoping the city can help them get rid of the abandoned homes.

    To learn more about current groups and starting new ones, click here.

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