Partnership will benefit District 5

Partnerships work. We’ve seen it time and again, and the difference made in our community has been palpable.

It will be yet again as the Clinton Police Department partners with Eastern Carolina Regional Housing Authority to beef up its presence in the Dogwood Circle area of District 5.

It starts with the newly opened substation at 110 Dogwood Circle, a three-room apartment that will be home to members of the Neighborhood Improvement Team as well as command personnel through the week. It will also be a place where residents can feel free to stop by and share concerns, offer tips or just get to know their police officers better.

But as important as the opening of the satellite office is, more significant will be the boots on the ground, and in the neighborhoods, it will provide, an answer, really, to citizens concerns in the area.

The visibility, alone, should help deter crime, and the presence of officers meandering around the neighborhood should help to bridge the gap between neighbors and police, providing a personal connection that people often need, particularly those who feel as if the only time they see law enforcement is when trouble erupts.

That is not the case with our Police Department, whose officers often mix and mingle with residents, whether it’s on the downtown sidewalk or in neighborhoods where the NIT team might be on any given day.

But in Dogwood Circle, a neighborhood often riddle with criminal activity usually brought on by visitors to the area rather than residents, the sight of police officers has, more often not, been the sign that trouble has been brewing.

With the satellite office and an increased police presence all of that should change. Citizens of that community have believed that for years, and they’ve sought just what they will now get with the partnership forged between the police and the housing authority, both whose leaders want to be proactive and responsive to residents’ needs.

“I know this is a great thing and I am convinced that we will see a drop in criminal activity with this station here. I think it will give (residents) hope as well. They see this as being responsive to their concerns,” new District 5 Councilman Darue Bryant noted during Thursday’s substation opening.

We believe Bryant is correct on both counts.

The increased police presence should be a strong signal to those who want to cause problems that doing so won’t be tolerated, and to the residents, who merely want a quiet and peaceful community, it should be the answer they’ve long awaited.

We applaud the housing authority for its proactive approach and for offering the police a home away from home. And we thank acting police chief Donald Edwards and his team for grabbing hold of the idea and running with it, showing, we believe, their desire to be a community resource.