West Charlotte community using app to restore neighborhood, figh - | WBTV Charlotte

West Charlotte community using app to restore neighborhood, fight crime

(Sarah-Blake Morgan | WBTV) (Sarah-Blake Morgan | WBTV)

Twenty years ago, the Forest Pawtuckett Community was the place to live in West Charlotte. Susie Taylor has called the neighborhood home for the past 23 years.

"We had a golf course. We used to have a swim club. It was one of the best neighborhoods on the west side," Taylor said. 

Taylor has watched the community comradery she once loved on her street change into crime, which she says is mostly being committed by juveniles.

"We have a lot of breaking and enterings, breaking into cars, coming into homes, just breaking the door down," she said. 

Taylor and a few other residents decided enough was enough. They formed a neighborhood watch group that is fueled largely by an active Nextdoor community page. The Nextdoor website and app offer a communication space for neighborhoods across the country. 

"Nextdoor has opened up a whole new way to tell our neighbors about crime," Taylor said.

According to Nextdoor, 2,000 neighborhoods across Charlotte use their site. On the Forest Pawtuckett page, you'll find posts by neighbors and block captains, along with crime alerts from posted CMPD officers assigned to their community. 

"We had pictures we could look at that say if you see this person, please call 911 immediately," she said. 

Nextdoor officials said they have partnered with CMPD since 2013. Since then, they've used the site to alert residents to nearly 3,000 crime and safety-related issues. 

A post last week from an officer asked Taylor and her neighbors to be on the lookout for Benjamin Jones, a breaking and entering suspect. A few days later, another post by the officer told resident's Jones had been arrested - and he credited the community's tips. Jones is charged with breaking and entering, larceny and felony conspiracy. 

"It's pretty much, 'you watch my back, I'll watch yours,'" Taylor said. 

Taylor says her neighborhood is safer today because of Nextdoor and their effort to restore the West Charlotte streets they love.

"The more people we have on neighborhood watch, the less likely we have on crime," she said.

Taylor and her community are planning a large neighborhood watch meeting on April the 25. They've invited CMPD and DA's office to discuss their on-going issues with juvenile crime.

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