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Whiteville residents band together to fight crime

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WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- Residents in part of Whiteville are meeting tonight to talk about the rise of crime in their area.

Some residents say Whiteville is the best little city in the US. But over the past several weeks the city has seen an increase in crime that has some concerned citizens taking action.

"We have had some citizens from a neighborhood located in our northeast section of town that are interested in forming a community watch in their area," Whiteville Police Lt. Mark McGee said.

The organizer of the meeting told WWAY she was not concerced about her family's safety until recently. That is why she is speaking up and organizing a crimewatch for her neighborhood.

Police say it's a good idea.

"You look out for your own neighbors, and you're the eyes and ears of the neighborhood and they help us with our job," McGee said.

Lt. McGee says while the police department is not fully staffed, it is not their fault.

"We were in the process of hiring two additional officers, but that's been put on hold, because of some possible budget cuts that we may be experiencing from lack of funding being cut from the state to the city," he said.

McGee says police cannot be everyewhere at once, but they try to be where they are needed most.

One of the things police are doing is encouraging citizens from across the city to create a neighborhood watch. If you see something suspicious, call police.

Tonight's meeting was organized before the shootings on the west side of Whiteville last week.

If you live in Baldwin Woods, Runnymede or High Woods or along Pinckney, Nance, Frink and Oliver Streets, you are encouraged to attend the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Beth-Israel Center on West Frink Street.

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