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Roundup reflection: Has River Bluff been cleaned up?

By Michael Hennessey
Published On: Feb 26 2014 05:33:21 PM CST
GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

Months after Greenville Police arrested multiple River Bluff residents for the purpose of cleaning up the area, we asked; was it effective?

On November 6th, Greenville Police announced the arrests of 53 people. They said many of the suspects were gang members, selling guns or drugs, or both. Out of the original 53 arrests, about 20 percent of the suspects lived in the River Bluff area.

Wednesday, Greenville Police officials provided Newschannel 12 with some statistics. They said from July 15th to November 5th, the day of the bust, there were 16 major crimes reported in the River Bluff area. From November 5th to February 25th, that number had been cut to nine. "Our violent crimes are down, our larcenies are down, so, the proof is in the pudding," said Sgt. Dale Mills of the Greenville Police Department.

"It used to be bad out here, people doing like bad things, breaking in people's houses, you see people coming out here trying to get drugs and this and that," said River Bluff resident Christina Bryant. "It feel good, it feel safe out here 'cause it's cleaned up, 'cause I have a little child or whatever and, like, I can just come out here and bring him and stuff without worrying about this, and worrying about that."

However, some residents told us a different story. About half of the people we talked to said crime in the area was either about the same, or worse. All of those residents chose not to speak on camera, most, for fear of retaliation.

Regardless, police feel confident their efforts are helping. "You may have an assigned officer here for 20, 30 minutes, he leaves and an undercover officer comes in," said Mills. "We're looking forward to tightening the screws down even more."

Mills said communication between the department and the residents of River Bluff are the best they've ever been and that's been one of the most effective ways of policing the area. He continued, saying as that communication improves, so will the well-being of the neighborhood.