‘Legendary’ area neighborhood watch has fought for decades to keep crime low


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Joe Wright lives in Cavalier Manor, he says in the past it’s been known for its crime.

But he also says neighbors were sick of it, and worked to fight back against crime.

“Crime was rampant,” said Wright.

For 17 years he was the chairman of the neighborhood watch,

He says at one point there were more than 120 active members, and they would do everything they could to make sure criminals stayed away.

Sometimes it even involved a little trickery, but they did what they had to do to fight crime.

“When we couldn’t get police officers out there we had an old hair drier and we would get in a spot and stick it out the window and the bad guys would think it’s a radar,” Wright said.

He says they have the longest running active neighborhood watch group in Portsmouth.

They even have a car dedicated specifically for patrolling the neighborhoods.

The mayor says what they’ve done to reduce crime is amazing.

“What they’ve done is legendary,” said Mayor John Rowe. 

10 On Your Side reached out to Portsmouth police to get some stats on crime from last year to this year.

Last year there were two homicides, this year none so far.

Last year there were nine aggravated assaults, and this year there have been three to date.

And as for burglaries last year, there were 53, this year there have been 15.

“If it wasn’t for our community watch, our community — it wouldn’t be as peaceful as Cavalier Manor is today,” said Wright.

Wright says there’s an older generation living in that community and as people passed or moved away, the community watch has shrunk.

But he says they’re doing everything in their power to get the younger generation involved.

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