A new neighborhood watch program leads to an arrest

PINK HILL, N.C. (WITN) – Pink Hill is a small, rural town. Its police department only has two full-time police officers, and that can make it a challenge to cover the town at all times.

That’s why Tony Esposito, the director of the Pink Hill Neighborhood Watch Program, revamped the program to educate people to report effectively, connect citizens to law enforcement, and protect themselves and their property.

“In a small town, we have one or two policemen, the sheriff’s department is 20 miles away, by the time they all get here, that person is gone then you have to think about what was he driving, what did he look like, and all that information. So if you record it first, that’s the important part,” Esposito explained.

With information from the Neighborhood Watch Program, the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office arrested Christopher James Houston and charged him with 7 felony and misdemeanor charges related to theft and vandalism.

“Anytime a citizen turns around, they call us and contact us, before an event gets out of hand, that’s where the unity lies,” Michael Hoffman, the Pink Hill Police Chief said.

Jennifer Murphy owns a chiropractic clinic and a holistic center in Pink Hill. With all her employees being women and having an elderly mother, she sees the importance of the program.

“With the police, they can’t be everywhere. So, if we can step up and do our little part and help them and protect each other it just makes common sense,” Murphy shared.

Esposito says placing stickers and signs at visible places is effective as well, which are given out for free.