Residents band together after thieves target neighborhood

Residents band together after thieves target neighborhood
Published: Sep. 24, 2014 at 10:13 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A downtown community is banding together on social media to stop criminals who are stealing from homes. Residents of Wagener Terrace are calling on each other and the Charleston Police Department to put an end to the rash of crime hitting their neighborhood.

"It's been a really sad thing because I really was excited about this scooter, I only owned it for a month," said Natalie Taylor, a Wagener Terrace residents for last two and a half years.

Taylor said she loves her neighborhood but her world was shook up when she became a victim of theft. Taylor's moped was stolen from her driveway.

Just a week before, another neighbor who lives only a few blocks away also reported a moped stolen from in front of his home.

"We hadn't had many issues over there, until this," Charleston Police Lt. Charles Hawkins.

Hawkins said recently criminals have been targeting that neighborhood, but not just for mopeds. Several home owners have reported burglaries. Building materials have been stolen, including thousands of dollars worth of copper. Many of those from houses being renovated.

"Some houses have been hit more than once which is really terrible, so I can only imagine how violating that is," said Taylor.

Hawkins said his department became aware of the increase in crime in Wagener Terrace due to posts on the neighborhood's Facebook page. A police liaison also attends the neighborhood meetings and caught wind of it there.

"Once we learned there was an issue over there, a big issue over there, we put some other resources over there to try to find these individuals who may be doing it," said Hawkins.

Hawkins said Charleston Police have beefed up patrols in the neighborhood. Taylor said community members are also keeping an eye out.

"I think the neighborhood really seems to be rallying together, which maybe we weren't before," said Taylor.

"The folks in Wagener Terrace know better than we do who their neighbors are, what suspicious activity may be," said Hawkins. "When they start to see that, they need to tell that officer that they see out there 'this looks suspicious over here you may want to check this out'."

Hawkins said they've just recently been notified of some of the thefts that have happened in that neighborhood because reports were not filed. He said it is important that the crimes are reported as soon as they happen.

"The key is when you start to have problems in your neighborhood, don't wait until it gets too big," said Hawkins.

Hawkins also encourages homeowners, who know they're going to be out of town and are concerned about property theft, to let police know ahead of time. Hawkins said they will make some extra rounds on the street are made.

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