FREEPORT (WIFR) – Freeport’s mayor says drugs are a major problem in the city and now police are talking about adding K-9’s to the force to cut down on crime.
“There’s more police around. They come around in the morning and at night.”
Sherry Loring says she feels safer now than she did a year ago, in part because of police presence, but also because her neighbors are watching out for her.
“I think if you have more people paying attention to what’s going on in the neighborhood, they will start calling the cops.”
The third ward neighborhood watch group formed last year as part of Mayor Jim Gitz’ public safety initiative. Gitz says he’s happy with the results.
“It says we care. We’re in this together. We want our neighborhoods to be quality places for people to live.”
So far this year, Freeport has had one murder. At this time last year, they had three. Gitz says he’s ready to expand on the initiative with three new elements: holding property accountable, creating a K-9 unit on the police force and working with kids to keep them from a life of crime.
Gitz and Loring hope those new additions help tackle what they call the city’s biggest crime problem – drugs.
“I have nine grandkids. I don’t want drug houses, I want playgrounds. I want my grandkids to play without having to worry about being run over by cars because we have way too much traffic for this little neighborhood because of drugs.
Gitz says city council is close to passing that vacant property ordinance. He says it will take longer to bring K-9’s back to the police force, but the city is working on grants to pay for the dogs.