Local News

Foot Patrols Hope to Help Distressed Neighborhood

Posted January 24, 2007 6:31 p.m. EST

— Massey Hill today is a neighborhood notorious for crime, stray animals and substandard homes. Once, it was a thriving mill community.

Fayetteville police and community leaders are trying to take back Massey Hill by fighting trouble before it starts, putting officers, other city workers and county officials on the streets rather than waiting to be called.

Officer Kellie Berg was on foot in the neighborhood Wednesday. She was on a new shift, but she was on familiar turf, knocking on familiar doors and seeing lots of the same old problems. The goal was to deliver a message in a neighborhood.

"As soon as we leave, they just converge back in the area. So we just let them know that we have zero tolerance," Bergh said as she surveyed the area.

Derrick Bledsoe remembers better days.

“We played in the streets, played basketball in the street, walked the streets. (There was) no issue at all,” Bledsoe said.

The mills that made Massey Hill thrive have long shut down. Current residents say they wonder if their new era of crime and poverty can ever come to an end.

Bledsoe seemed dubious Wednesday.

"I think it's just a show. It's just a show," he said as he swept leaves on the sidewalk and in the street in front of his house.

Police said the show is a show of concern for the community. They brought along Animal Control officers to make sure pets aren't wandering about.

Jean Bolton is a member of Massey Hill’s community watch.

"We were the working class in the city of Fayetteville, the seed of Fayetteville. It's important to us—those of us who remember those days—to get it back."

Police said they will continue their neighborhood sweep through Friday and plan to do walk-throughs of Massey Hill on a regular basis.