Neighbors taking action against crime in East Ghent

Posted at 9:25 PM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-19 23:26:50-04

NORFOLK, Va. - People living in East Ghent are taking action against crime in their neighborhood. Surveillance video shows people checking car doors, attempting to break in.

"It's annoying, it's insulting and it's...we're just not going to tolerate it," said Laurel and William Pont, who have been living in the neighborhood for 16 years. They believe it is one of the coolest neighborhoods in Norfolk and the frequent crime is getting on their nerves.

William Pont remembers one night when someone tried to get into his truck.

"I just happened to peek out the window and I heard the door handle go thunk and I looked between the trees and I saw the guy," said Pont. He added by the time he got his window open to get a better look, the suspect was gone.

That's why the Ponts and others in the neighborhood are taking action against crime. They have motion sensor lights, always watch the streets and also warn those new to the neighborhood. They post everything suspicious on Nextdoor and report it to police.

"Every time someone new moves in and we get to know them, it's like okay here what's you need to do, watch out for this watch out for that," said Laurel Pont.

William added he believes newcomers are also targets.

"When new people move into the area, they seem to be the ones who are getting hit because think the perpetrators realize hey, that's a new vehicle, maybe they didn't lock," said William.

Down the street off Llewellyn Ave, Melissa Schoenfeld has been a victim or car break-ins herself.

"Ours has been rifled through for sure. I don't think we've actually had anything stolen from ours, but it happens all over this neighborhood," said Schoenfeld.

She has kids and they have valuables, so she stays vigilant.

"It's upsetting and we definitely try to keep the cars locked and bikes locked away, the ones that are valuable. That's a big concern for us, the kids' stuff," said Schoenfeld.

Some neighbors who asked to remain anonymous told News 3's Kim Cung they are finding it hard to recommend the neighborhood given the consistent break-in attempts. Adding, the police have been responsive, but it's always after the fact.