07/20/04 — Vital help: Your cooperation can solve crimes

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Vital help: Your cooperation can solve crimes

“Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said that the assistance of concerned citizens helped the investigation.”

That’s a quote from a recent article in this newspaper.

It speaks volumes about the importance of the involvement of private citizens in combating crime. No county or municipality can afford to have enforcement officers conducting patrols and surveillance of every neighborhood every hour of every day and every night.

But by conscientiously maintaining official or unofficial community watch programs, we can provide blanket coverage of our communities and our county.

The investigation Winders was referring to in the recent article involved a string of break-ins that had hit homes or businesses in six different areas. A 22-year-old man from another county was charged with being involved in all of the break-ins. He is being held under $100,000 bond on 13 felony counts that could land him in prison for considerable time.

The sheriff says others also may be charged. And there are indications there could be more break-ins involved in light of the fact that the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Department also participated in the investigations.

Thanks to modern technology and a high level of cooperation between law enforcement agencies of different jurisdictions and agencies, we have been able to mount an effective and sophisticated war on crime.

But the problem is a vexing one. And we cannot expect the men and women behind the badges to cope with it alone.

In the cases referred to in the recent article, Sheriff Winders said, “Citizens of our county provided vital information and descriptions that helped officers identify the culprits and the vehicle used in the crimes.”

As a result of the investigation, some of the stolen items will be recovered and returned to the owners.

Those who have experienced break-ins can be especially grateful to the officers and cooperating citizens when those who have violated the sanctity of their homes and property are brought to justice.

And the ripple effect can be far-reaching. It can put safely behind bars people who, left uncaught, would continue to prey upon more and more potential victims of their crimes.

Published in Editorials on July 20, 2004 12:36 PM