LELAND -- Good news out of Brunswick County tonight. The town of Leland has seen a significant drop in crime, despite a boom in population. It seems there's construction everywhere you look in Leland, indicating a growing population. Despite that, the police department has been working hard over the past few years to keep crime low. Bill and Lucinda Waterson retired to Leland from New Hampshire. They're among the thousands of people filling up the developments popping up all over town. Lucinda said, "We liked the area and we just decided this is it." Bill said, "You hear all the doom and gloom on the news about how the housing is terrible and all this. It certainly doesn't seem to be terrible here." The crime rate isn't so terrible in Leland, either, making Police Chief Osey Sanders proud. In the past five years the police department staff has tripled and implemented new ways of cracking down on crime. Sanders said, "We brought aboard a lot of programs such as our 'are you OK' check -- we call every day and call on our senior citizens in Leland. We have a very aggressive crime prevention program, we do a vacation check on folks' homes when they're away." In 2002 Leland's population was about 4,000 people and there were 72 crimes per 1,000 citizens. Fast forward to 2007 and the town's population more than doubled to 10,000. Although, crimes reduced to 30 per 1,000 people -- a 57 percent crime reduction in those five years. Sanders said, "It's going to be very tough to hold crime down in a city that's developing so fast, but we've been pretty successful at it." The Watersons look forward to enjoying retirement in Leland as their town continues to grow. Bill said, "It seems it's going to get better and better from our perspective, having things that are convenient and available. You don't have to go into Wilmington; you can if you want." Lucinda said, "I think the boom is just incredible; glad to be a part of it." Chief Sanders says there's very little violent crime in Leland. It's mostly property crime.
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