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How Orange Mound neighbors are using a Neighborhood Crime Prevention Grant to increase security

The money will add new doorbell cameras and motion sensors in the area after Orange Mound neighbors reported a rash of recent thefts and break-ins.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For years, those at the Memphis Police Department repeatedly said they can't protect the city on their own, and that it takes neighborhood leaders to do their part in keeping a close eye and reporting suspicious behavior.

Those in the Orange Mound community took that to heart, and they now have new tools to fight crime and protect their neighbors. It's all thanks to a newly awarded Neighborhood Crime Prevention Grant. I

t's especially personal for those living on one Orange Mound block.

"I didn't feel no good. I didn't feel no good," Cleveland Jackson said.

That's how 89-year-old, and the longtime Orange Mound resident, recently felt when he noticed someone grabbed and took off with hundreds of dollars worth of tools from his yard.

"Got my rake. Got my weed eater. Got my blower. I had 200-line cord, they got that," Jackson added.

Orange Mound neighborhoods leaders reported at least six thefts or break-ins in recent weeks, including at Jackson's home.

"Oh, I was mad!" La Tonia Blankenship of Orange Mound said.

So, Blankenship - Jackson's neighbor - did something about it and put her Orange Mound passion into action. Her very first grant application succeeded.

"I stayed up for two nights making sure I did everything specific that they wanted done," Blankenship added.

This week, Orange Mound and nine other neighborhood groups received a $2,500 Neighborhood Crime Prevention Grant from the City of Memphis. The funds will cover new doorbell cameras, motion sensors, and other security measures.

"That was my biggest concern. I wanted to make sure that the elders get some security because Mr. Jackson would normally not even have his light on. But since that happened he's been keeping his front light on," Blankenship said.

The neighborhood watch grant is expected to assist at least 50 Orange Mound neighbors directly, giving Orange mound neighborhood leaders additional peace of mind about the safety and security protection on their own blocks.

"What we buy for our home should be secure at home and not have to worry about, you know, somebody coming on your porch or in your backyard or in your car taking stuff from you," Blankenship said. 

The neighborhood leader said she's hopeful the first security purchases can be distributed in a few weeks, with additional giveaways planned during the neighborhood's upcoming National Night Out with Memphis Police. 

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