PLEASANT PLAINS, AR (KAIT) - Crime in Pleasant Plains has dropped drastically in a year from 60 burglaries this time last year to 6 this year, thanks to a local program's watchful eye.
The Neighborhood Watch program has worked with the Independence County Sheriff's Department and the community to restore Pleasant Plains to the friendly nature its name implies.
"It really does take community involvement to lower the crime rate," said Barry Anderson, the Neighborhood Watch coordinator. "As they see things going on, crimes being committed or something suspicious, continue calling the sheriff's department."
That is exactly what Pleasant Plains resident Deedee Taylor does.
"I'm a nosy neighbor," Taylor said. "Proud of it. I sit out on my porch late at night all hours so I guess I'm the neighborhood snoop."
But Taylor is not the kind of snoop who sticks her nose in other people's business. Her snooping is all about her neighbors' safety.
"If I see a flashlight go on at midnight, I'm calling that person," Taylor said. "'Hey, there's a flashlight out there in your backyard. You better call 911.'"
She has done it many times before, calling the sheriff's department about a suspicious vehicle driving through her neighborhood and another sitting in her neighbor's driveway.
"If I live near you, I would keep an eye on you," Taylor said. "That's just me."
Anderson said that is exactly what the Neighborhood Watch program is all about.
"It's not trying to figure out what the neighbors are doing," Anderson said. "It's just keeping an eye on your neighbor, your neighbor's property and make sure there's nothing going on."
There are now 90 sets of eyes with that mission.
"The crime rate was really getting out of hand," Anderson said. "The sheriff's department was doing all they could and it just really needed community involvement to make it a better place. We have a ways to go, but it's getting there."
That is why Taylor will continue to exercise her watchful eye.
"I can't stand a liar and I sure can't stand a thief," Taylor said. "Get off your rear end, quit your drugs and go to work."
If anyone wants to get involved in the Pleasant Plains Neighborhood Watch, attend the meetings every first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Midland High School cafeteria.