Neighborhood watch program helped BCSO in standoff

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — No matter how many officers a county employs, not every community can be carefully monitored by the police 24/7. That’s where a neighborhood watch program comes in, and in cases like the Bradley County standoff last week, it can save lives.

The Royal Oaks community is a quiet neighborhood. Today, the loudest noises came from leaves rustling or dogs barking. And the neighborhood watch program has kept it that way for over 50 years.

But last Tuesday, that all changed when a man held a gun to his girlfriend’s head and forced her inside the nearest house.

“Well he picked the wrong neighborhood to go into,” said Lieutenant Robert Hancock, the director of crime prevention for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. “Our neighborhoods are well marked and anyone local would know, but this guy was not local. So he went into the wrong area into a little band of fighters.”

A woman living just three doors down from the neighborhood’s entrance noticed suspicious activity and called the sheriff’s office. She then barricaded herself in a back bedroom and waited for the police.

“She did everything right,” Hancock said. “She called in, she had her doors locked. She did everything right, and this guy caused all the problems.”

SWAT was able to get her out unharmed, and after a 7 hour standoff, the two suspects finally gave themselves up.

“Once you get in one of our neighborhoods and we set up a perimeter, you’re not going to get out. You’re not going to get out. So you might as well give up.”

The number of neighborhood watch programs in Bradley County has significantly increased in recent months, and the sheriffs office is encouraging more communities to organize one.

“Residents want to feel safe, and they recognize that it’s a collaborative effort. Not one homeowner can do it,” BCSO Director of Public Relations Lieutenant Jason Bradford said.

If you feel your neighborhood needs a program like this, you can go to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office website or contact Lieutenant Hancock directly at (423) 728-7321.

Categories: Bradley County, Cleveland, Local News

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