By Dottie Dewberry
For the WPT
MABEN — Because of a breaking and entering, not only to businesses, but on senior citizens in particular in the area, a town meeting was held Aug. 6 to get an idea of what the citizens need and what they can expect from the local government and the county sheriff’s departments in both Webster and Oktibbeha counties. The formation of a Neighborhood Watch is the ultimate goal.
Mayor Larry Pruitt opened the meeting with what the town of Maben has done to alleviate some problems: hired extra help, patrolled the streets more diligently for curfew violators, cleared overgrown areas of bushes and raised fines on misdemeanors such as loud music, fighting, vandalism to public property and violation of curfew laws. Mayor Pruitt says they are looking into grants to purchase cameras for areas that are remote.
The small group made some suggestions of what the elderly or families can do to safeguard themselves: apply for the I’m Okay Program, install a security system, use wedges under door knobs at night, use car panic button if you feel threatened, install security lights on entrances into the home, install motion detectors on doorways and stop mail delivery/newspapers if you are going to be away.
The meeting was the initial gathering to see what is available to the public and what concerns the citizens have. Most concerns were the foot traffic late at night, the loud, speeding vehicles, lack of sidewalks in some areas (people have to walk in the streets), and some streetlights being out or the lack of streetlights in some areas.
Several of the mostly elderly participants suggested earlier curfews during the school year.
Mayor Pruitt says that violators of the curfew or other violations of city ordinances are being transported to Eupora or Starkville jail for detention until parents come pick them up. The Department of Human Services will be notified if parents refuse to pick these minors up.
One item of interest before the group disbanded was the lack of “No Sagging” law. It would be interesting to hear the reasons to not have this ruling.
Other meetings will be held as more information is forthcoming and more citizens can attend and give their comments.