Cleanup eliminates hide outs

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 8, 2002

Williamstown community residents recently got together with Suffolk Police Chief William A. Freeman, several police officers, City Councilman Bobby Ralph, and members of the Citizens Academy Alumni of Suffolk (CAAS). Not only did they clean trash from the neighborhood, but also made the area a safer place to live.

The Williamstown Civic League hosted the &uot;Turn Out for Neighborhood Cleanup&uot; for their area of the city, inviting the others to help them spruce up the area. It wasn’t just a day for picking up trash, but also to make the area less attractive to people trying to hide from law enforcement by seeking shelter in overgrowth and other places. Prior to the cleanup, police arrested 24 individuals loitering in the area and they wanted to continue in creating a safe and pleasant area for residents of Williamstown.

It was all a part of the &uot;National Make a Difference Day,&uot; a time for volunteers to improve their communities through cleaning, fixing and painting.


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&uot;Working together with police officers, including Chief Freeman, members of the civic league, and volunteers from the neighborhood, we were able to pick up and dispose of an incredible 3,147 pounds of hazardous materials, trash, glass, cans, tires and even snakes,&uot; said Donna Perry, president of CAAS. &uot;Together, we mowed overgrown lawns and fields, hung shutters, replaced and glazed broken windows and planted flowers throughout the Williamstown Neighborhood.&uot;

Perry added that members of Bethlehem Christian Church set a great example for all the volunteers to follow.

&uot;Their irrepressible spirit and dynamic energy coupled with their community commitment was just so impressive,&uot; said Perry.

&uot;It is my sincere hope that their hard work will transmit to other local churches throughout the city. I salute Chief William Freeman and Councilman Bobby Ralph for demonstrating their deep interest in our community. Their inspiring efforts to bring about better conditions for the City of Suffolk will surely be successful. Again, we appreciate the energy, enthusiasm and loyalty of all that participated. It’s the dedicated citizens like those who truly make it a good time to be in Suffolk!&uot;

&uot;We are so blessed in Suffolk and the people here are so unique,&uot; said Perry.

&uot;The support we received from the city is unbelievable. I am certain there is no other city in Hampton Roads that enjoys the cooperation of citizens on the level that Suffolk does. All you have to do is ask and the city, from the chief of police to city councilmen, come out to support the effort.&uot;

Suffolk Police Lieutenant Stephanie R. Burch added that the police department was glad to see so many residents of Williamstown come by to say how pleased they were to see such an effort.

&uot;They showed up in force to let everyone know that criminals are not welcome in Williamstown,&uot; said Burch. &uot;Crime prevention starts when communities take ownership of their neighborhoods by keeping them clean and well maintained.&uot;

Other officers who assisted with the cleanup job included Karl Adams, Timothy Cooper, Willis Williams, and Sgt. John King.

Wesley King, of Suffolk’s Department of Public Works, confirmed the actual amount of trash cleaned up in Williamstown.

Those who contributed supplies and building materials include Salmon Paint, G.P. & Peter Jackson, Suffolk Auction, Suffolk Paint, Duke Auto, Suffolk Glass, Johnson’s Florists, Bennett’s Creek Nurseries, Bethlehem Christian Church, Habitat for Humanity, Wal-Mart of Suffolk, Home Depot, Krispy Kreme, Farm Fresh, Obici Hospital, Tidewater Container, and Dentists Howell, Bradshaw, Hardy and March.