MOEOSODIPE

Neighborhood group keeps an eye out for each other

Marion ‘ doll house’ residents form Facebook page to keep each other informed

ralphhardin@gmail.com In an age where many folks are too busy with their own lives to worry about their neighbors, one group of neighbors in Marion has taken advantage of social media to keep each other informed and help keep an eye on the neighborhood.

The group currently boasts a membership of 120 Facebook users with the goal of reducing crime in the neighborhood, which is primarily made up of low- and moderate-income families and retirees.

They call their page the Marion, Arkansas (Doll Houses) Neighborhood Watch, and the page is described as “Doll houses Neighborhood watch & residents communication group,” with the declaration, “Let’s get OUR neighborhood back so our family, children & friends are safe in our own homes!”

The group launched in March, spearheaded by concerned citizens Rachel Evans, V.J. Pierce and Timothy Larkin, with new members being added over the past few months. It’s a closed group, so you have to ask to join. The membership is largely limited to those who actually live in the neighborhood, but there are a few members of the community at large who are also involved.

“All’s peaceful and quiet and our protectors are patrolling over here now,” Pierce posted Sunday evening during Memorial Day weekend. “First time in years I have lived over here that there are no big parties or fireworks going off or shots being fired, making this holiday the best one yet.”

Larkin expressed similar sentiments.

“Thank you to Marion’s finest for your continuous appearance through the doll houses,” he wrote.

“They’ve been down my street twice already. Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day. Y’all stay safe.

The neighborhood, which includes Midel Marconi Drive and several streets branching off from it, is one of the City of Marion’s most crime-plagued, with police reporting to the area multiple times per day.

There has been gang activity reported in the neighborhood, and two homicides have occurred in the past six months — one in December and one in March.

The page, which was launched in March, allows residents to communicate with one another via social media and warn neighbors of suspicious or criminal activity.

“Everybody in the doll houses and Midel Marconi be aware they are breaking in houses in broad daylight,” wrote Amber Pittman on May 17. “I had this happen to me right before lunch time.”

Within in minutes, neighbors began responding.

“Thanks, will be watching,” replied Pierce.

“Thanks for the heads up,” wrote Patsy Gallegos.

More than half a dozen other neighbors chimed in, letting everyone know they would be on the lookout for suspicious behavior on community streets.

Earlier in the month, Larkin asked for input from the page members.

“I’ve been wondering for a while now how these high crime neighborhoods would do with the flashing blue lights on the pole with the cameras,” he wrote.

“Some neighborhoods I travel to in Memphis had those. I don't know anything about the neighborhood I'm going through, but I know it's not good when I see those. Just wondering if there was a possibility the dollhouses could get one or two. Any other thoughts about this? Just figured it might deter some crime and maybe have photos or video of crime. Just a concerned neighbor.”

The page also includes announcements such as lost pets, local news (including an upcoming concealed carry class), and even recipes and funny memes.

The national Neighborhood Watch Association teaches that a close-knit community can be a strong deterrent to crime. With the Facebook page keeping the neighborhood connected, perhaps the residents have cracked the code on bringing down crime in their community.

By Ralph Hardin

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