CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Police will tell you that to keep a neighborhood safe they have to have good community activists working passionately in those neighborhoods.
“The key to any community and police relationship is communication,” says CMPD Community Resource Officer Jim Gilliland.
Gilliland is presenting the Community Partner Award in front of all of the Department’s top brass to Valerie Preston, President of the Dilworth Community Association.
‘I was honored a bit overwhelming, I didn’t expect it at all, says Preston.
The historic Dilworth community is a quiet upscale neighborhood that sits just outside of uptown where crime is not bad as other neighborhoods across town. Residents take a lot of pride in protecting what they have.
“The neighbors are always concerned about crime and property value and people coming through the neighborhood,” says Preston.
As in most neighborhoods car break-ins are a real nuisance in Dilworth. Preston helps police by sending out crime prevention material.
"A lot of people just don’t lock their cars,” Preston said.
She also attends community meetings and helps de-escalate any problems that arise.
“Information is key and I could say a hundred times, but when it actually comes from the neighborhood, its much more powerful and people get the message,” says Officer Gilliland.
To get that message across police say they need a strong passionate champion in the community like Preson, who says she never thought she’d be in this position as neighborhood leader and coordinator with police.
“No I did not, but moving into Dilworth, it’s such a wonderful neighborhood, and you just want keep it a great neighborhood.”