Residents from several Swannanoa neighborhoods joined with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office for a meeting at the Bee Tree Fire Station on Monday, June 19, to discuss options for improving community safety, including the possibility of forming Community Watch groups. The meeting was facilitated by Sgt. Larry Pierson of the Sheriff’s Office. Pierson also serves as Deputy Chief of the Swannanoa Fire Department.
A Community Watch program already exists in the Grovemont community, and more groups are under consideration following the June 19 meeting. Neighborhoods represented at the meeting included Bee Tree Village Cliffside, Cherry Laurel, and a consolidated effort by residents around the Community High School (Riverwood, Bee Tree Rd. to Asheville Christian Academy, and Old U.S. 70 to the Bee Tree intersection). If you live in the area of the Community High School and would like to get involved, please contact James Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you live outside these areas and would like to form a community safety group in your neighborhood, please contact the Buncombe County Crime Prevention Unit at 828-250-4427 or send an email to Sgt. Larry Pierson at email@example.com.
Sgt. Pierson says that forming neighborhood groups will not only pay off for crime reduction and prevention, but also for disaster response in our community. Information about floods, power outages, blizzards, etc. can be communicated more easily through connected community groups. “I’ve lived and served in Swannanoa for 28 years,” Sgt. Pierson said. “I’m very excited to see support growing for these kinds of community groups in Swannanoa.”
Another way to get connected with your neighbors is through Nextdoor, a free social network that allows residents to form neighborhood groups and share information. Several groups already exist in the Swannanoa Valley and more are being added. The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office is active on Nextdoor, and often provides updates relating to crime and community safety. Nextdoor is a great way to stay in the know about what’s going on in your neighborhood and community — whether it’s a rash of car break-ins, finding a last-minute babysitter, learning about an upcoming community event, getting a recommendation for a handyman, or finding a lost pet. To join Nextdoor, visit www.nextdoor.com. You can also download the Nextdoor app for your mobile device.
In related news, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office was back in Swannanoa for a community meeting on July 6. Sheriff Van Duncan and members of the Sheriff’s COPS (Community Oriented Problem Solving) team met with residents to share the results of the COPS team’s efforts in Swannanoa during the month of June. The COPS team focuses on a particular Buncombe County community for a 30-day period, identifying areas of public concern and meeting with local residents, businesses and organizations to address safety issues and criminal activities in the area.