Olive Brach neighborhood watch program expands online

The Mississippi town of Olive Branch used to be considered by many as sleepy and secure, but officials say as the town grows, so does the problem of crime.

While neighborhood watches have helped prevent crime in the town for years, officials are now planning to take things one step further.  Olive Branch Police Captain Tony Norris said the city will soon use its website to create a "virtual watch," where residents can get crime alerts, give police tips, and be aware of what's going on around them.

"You can email us a specific question and I can email it back to them within a 24 hour period," Norris said. "They feel like they have a direct link with the Police Department."

After a recent crime in his neighborhood, Olive Branch resident Ed Walton said he can't wait for the new program.  "A rust colored pick-up truck came through the community," he said, "came into a house and burglarized it while people were home outside in the yard."

After that incident, Walton signed up 87 of his 108 neighbors for the new program.

Meanwhile, residents in the Hunter's Run neighborhood said they are getting decals for their vehicles, so they'll know who belongs and who doesn't.  Residents also plan to put out video surveillance cameras.  Norris said that kind of involvement is pleasing to police.

"They see stuff in their own neighborhood that's unusual quicker than we do," he said.  "Our greatest aid out there in our neighborhood watches."