Myrtle Grove neighborhood bands together to fight recent violent crimes

Myrtle Grove neighborhood bands together to fight recent violent crimes

An Escambia County commissioner asked people in his district to double down on their efforts to help fight crime. On Wednesday, Commissioner Doug Underhill held a town hall meeting in Myrtle Grove to address some violent crimes recently. The meeting was well attended.

"This is great," said Pat Nichols who lives in Myrtle Grove. "We've had more at some. So people are listening."

People living in Myrtle Grove have banded together before to bring change. Last year, they worked with the county to get LED street lights to some dark roads. Underhill said now it's time for the next effort.

"This is really the time where we just know we've got to really double down on all energies and the things we're doing in the grove because the things that we've been doing have been working over the last couple of years," Underhill said.

He is asking people in Myrtle Grove to report abandoned homes because they can attract drug activity. Escambia County Sheriff's deputies said at the meeting that drugs have been the common factor in several recent violent crimes. There was a murder on Jackson Street in December, a deadly home invasion on Tuesday, January 23, on 48th Avenue, and then a shooting on Forest Park Drive over the weekend.

"Most of the things that have recently happened in Myrtle Grove is drug-related," Commander Dale Tharp said. "You all can be a big help by telling us what's going on in your neighborhood."

Some people were worried about kids in the neighborhood causing trouble. The principal of Escambia High School was at the meeting and promised he would do what he can.

"We will continue to work with those students who find the joys of leaving school more so than finding the joys in the classroom," Frank Murphy said.

Underhill said it is important for people to call authorities if they see something suspicious. Law enforcement might never know about it otherwise.

"If you think that it might be and it's not, then the worst case scenario is that a squad car comes through your neighborhood," Underhill said.

The sheriff's office said they are about to introduce a high-intensity patrol unit to focus on drugs, burglaries, and theft in the Myrtle Grove area. It was welcome news for the people who live here.

"I live out here and I love it out here," Nichols said. "I wouldn't live anywhere else."

Myrtle Grove neighborhood watch meets this Thursday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the WESCO Senior Center.

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