Crime down in the Grid thanks to GPD, neighborhood association partnership

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – After a stabbing off First Street in Greenville on Sunday, one of university area’s landlords reached out to 9 On Your Side to talk about crime in the neighborhood.

A neighborhood association and the Greenville Police Department are working together to decrease crime in the “Grid” area of the city. Both officers and a landlord in the area say the recent incident was an isolated one and crime is nowhere near what it was.

“See, nowadays more people are feeling comfortable,” said Mclean Godley, who lives in the Grid. He’s lived in the university neighborhood for five years and said he’s noticed changes in the area he serves. He’s a member of the Greenville City Council.

Godley also said more people are taking pride in their properties by keeping lawns clean and making sure things have curb appeal. He believes those changes have kept crime levels down.

It’s all thanks to a partnership; one between the Greenville Police Department and the University Area Neighborhood Association.

“We have a different role in solving the problems that we’ve had over here, but we’re both stakeholders in it,” said Sgt. Rudy Oxendine of the Greenville Police Department.

“I talk to these guys on a weekly basis on weekends, on holidays. The constant communication has been phenomenal,” said Jim Blount of the University Neighborhood Association.

The two parties started working together in 2014 when GPD’s Center City Unit was created. Their first order of business is to clean up the neighborhood.

“We implemented a really aggressive purchase plan,” said Blount.

“If it looks like someone cares about it and there may be a person there tending to it, or there may be eyes on the street that are concerned about it, people are going to be a little more hesitant to do bad things there or around there,” added Sgt. Oxendine.

During March, crime in the area was down 37-percent and Sgt. Oxendine said he thinks 2016 can be the best year yet.

Both teams say they couldn’t have done it without each other.

Blount said, “We couldn’t see the decrease in crime. We’ve got [that] now and the increase in rental rates and the vibrancy here without the partnership of Greenville Center City Unit.”

Those trying to make the Grid a safer place say their work is far from over, but they’ll continue their efforts.

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