Neighbors Frustrated with Crime; Police Say Numbers Are Up

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- While the Highlawn neighborhood is quieter after Tuesday's deadly shooting, people who live there said they're tired of seeing so much crime in their backyard.

Now, they're looking to put a stop to it.

People living in the Highlawn neighborhood are shaken up.

They said in the past few years, things have changed.

We spoke with one neighbor who didn't want to go on camera.

"As soon as it gets dark, you have to take your kids inside, you have to lock your doors, you have to protect yourself because people walk the streets," that neighbor said.

This week, Huntington Police said the neighborhood has had a home invasion and a shooting.

"It's very scary," a resident said.

Police said they've noticed the trend.

"It's been unusually high for the last six months," Huntington Police Lt. John Williams said.

The most recent crime data from Huntington Police shows the Highlawn area faces growing crime.

"Highlawn in itself, we've known we've had problems for some time," Williams said.

The police department reports in 2012, the neighborhood had 138 burglaries.

That's up from 108 in 2011.

Car break-ins have more than doubled in that same time period.

Police said drugs are fueling the growing crime problems.

"You've got the gun issue, you've got the violence, you have bringing people in the neighborhood because of that," Williams said.

Now, the community's neighborhood association is encouraging people to take action.

"Keep their lights on at night, be vigilant, know your neighbors is a major, major thing," said Highlawn Neighorhood Association President Linda Blough.

And neighbors said they're ready.

"If we can build a strong neighborhood watch, then we can overcome this," a neighbor said.

Police said they're still investigating what the fight was about in Tuesday night's shooting.

Neighbors said they just hope this will come to an end sooner rather than later.

Huntington Police said there are things you can do to cut down on crimes in your neighborhood.

They said being aware of your surroundings and knowing your neighbors can make all the difference.

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