Being a nosy neighbor is a good thing.
Sheriff Jimmy Thornton has repeatedly acknowledged the importance of being one, and we couldn’t agree more with his assessment.
It might have been taboo years ago to be considered a nosy neighbor but today, in a society where criminals hope people won’t get involved and will turn a blind eye to the goings on around them, paying attention to those who come in and out of your community or pay a visit to those around you is a good thing.
Crime is a reality. It happens around us every day. And break-ins often seem the crime of choice in Sampson County. Being a nosy neighbor might just be the one way to stop some of it.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen yet another rash of thefts in different areas of the county, where criminals pry open doors or break windows to gain entry into storage buildings, churches and homes, snatching an assortment of items that become an easy trade for drugs or a quick sale for fast cash.
That’s where the nosy neighbor comes in. They are the other pair of eyes and ears for the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department or, in the city, the Clinton Police Department.
“We were taught all our lives not to be nosy,” Thornton said earlier this week during an interview about several break-ins in the county. “But today, I encourage you to be just that. I want people to be vigilant, to keep an eye out for their property and their neighbor’s property.”
The sheriff said getting involved can and has made a difference.
Citizen tips have led to numerous drug arrests and either stopped break-ins before they occurred or were the catalyst for catching would-be thieves before they were able to get away with a person’s possession.
That should be enough incentive to be attuned to what goes on around you. If a strange car is in your neighborhood, alert law enforcement; if unfamiliar people are repeatedly seen around your neighbor’s house or if anything at all seems out of the ordinary, pick up the phone and make the call.
“If it turns out be nothing, who cares,” the sheriff stressed.
While most people prefer not to get involved, thinking that doing so puts them in the middle of situations they’d rather not to be associated with, the truth is, sitting on the sidelines can only help those who are looking to rain trouble down on others.
Local law enforcement agencies make it fairly simple to get involved with few, if any strings, allowing people to leave anonymous tips, all in an effort to get information that can help them solve crimes and prevent them, as well.
But it takes a willingness to be that nosy neighbor, to get involved, to serve as those eyes that law enforcement, stretched thin by myriad other duties that can often keep them away from patrols for certain periods of the day.
We would encourage people to get involved, putting brakes on plans criminals might have for your communities.