Dawson businesses join forces to fight crime - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dawson businesses join forces to fight crime

April 12, 2006

Dawson-- A follow up to a story we told you about. Business owners in Dawson are fed up with crime. They're pulling together to fight burglaries and they've asked city leaders for help before they lose more money.

Along Dawson's Main Street, burglars are freely shopping at downtown businesses after dark and after hours.

"I think that's too many burglaries within a month and it seems like it's ongoing," says business owner Vanessa Washington. It's an ongoing problem that leaves a heavy dent in business owners' pockets.

"We're having limited funds as it is and Dawson is a small town," says Washington.

"We lost several hundred dollars with cash registers and money," says business owner Ken Price.

At the Dawson Fish House, burglars made their way inside well after the last meal was served. Owner Ken Price says the burglars were swift. "They were fast about it. They pryed the back door open and wall open and was in there in a heartbeat," says Price.

That's two times in just one week. "Thursday night and then the next Thursday night and the next Thursday night, I sat and waited for them," says Price.

But now, business owners aren't waiting any longer. They want something to be done about the break-ins. "We decided to get together and have kind of a pow-wow session to get the city officials and police officers involved," says Washington.

"They have valid concerns," says Major Tommy Poupard of Dawson Police.

Major Poupard says within the last year there have been 17 burglaries and zero solved but law enforcement is developing a plan of action. "We're increasing the amount of patrol in the downtown area, more aggressive foot patrol, more officers out," says Poupard.

"I hope that things change around where I can look out the window before I leave and see a patrol car sitting somewhere," says Price.

In the meantime, business owners continue to lock doors to keep their property protected. "I can only just keep my prayers and ask God to keep them out. That's basically what I do," says Michael Wooden.

Although the burglaries are discouraging, they say they'll continue to pull together to reduce crime. "We already have hope. We have faith also," says Washington. They have faith that they can continue to prosper as they fight business burglars along their main street.

"We are very serious," says Washington.

Business owners plan to ask the City Council to establish a fund to help burglarized businesses and to police a raise to help with morale and retention.

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