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CAROLINA SHORES—A new eight-member security advisory committee has been formed to address protection of life and property in the town.
Carolina Shores Mayor Steve Selby said the committee he appointed consists of six retired law enforcement residents, including himself, who have more than 100 years of combined law enforcement experience.
Other members include town commissioner John Russo, former mayor Dan Mann, Art Hahl, who is serving as committee chairman, Tony Languell and Rector Sisk. Two other committee members from outside law enforcement are Jay Leskowicz and Mike Mundy, chairman of the Carolina Shores Property Owners Association.
The committee met Feb. 1 to discuss options that include contracting with a private security firm, hiring off-duty officers, establishing a local substation with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office or installing alarm systems, according to Selby.
He said enough incidents are occurring in the town to warrant a closer look at ways to beef up security and law enforcement protection.
One resident, Regina Hickey, said she was alarmed last week after reading about a “rash” of breaking and entering incidents in Carolina Shores in another newspaper.
A check of The Brunswick Beacon’s crime report for the past year shows 16 incidents occurring in Carolina Shores as reported by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.
Another incident that did not show up on the crime report involves a Carolina Shores woman who claimed Tuesday she was the victim of a home invasion that occurred in July.
Two other home invasions involving larceny that occurred while the victims were at home were reported in January.
Selby said other incidents have occurred that were not reported to the proper authorities.
“A lot of folks aren’t calling the sheriff’s department,” Selby said this week. “They’re calling the mayor’s office instead.”
Selby said town officials are trying to encourage people who have suspicious activity to call 911 and the sheriff’s department.
Selby, a retired police officer, said he personally investigated a resident’s complaint about a suspicious vehicle last week. The incident turned out to be a broken down car.
Another woman, he said, called about someone knocking on her windows during the evening hours. After she turned on her lights, the perpetrator apparently ran away.
Selby said the resident did not call the sheriff, but talked to one of her neighbors who called town hall.
“There’s been enough break-ins that we’re concerned about it,” he said, particularly incidents that are occurring when people are home in the evening hours.
Town commissioner Gere Dale said a previous neighborhood watch program involving residents voluntarily driving around town on a rotating basis did not work out well.
Dale, who served as a crime watch captain for about 12 years, said it was difficult getting enough volunteers and there were gaps in the program. He said the daytime monitoring also did little to uncover any crimes since the bulk of incidents tend to occur after dark.
He said something definitely needs to be done about beefing up security in the sprawling community, which he estimates consists of at least 30-35 miles of roads.
Dale cited three home invasions he is aware of that have occurred since last July.
“Those are a lot different than an automobile left in the driveway unlocked,” he said. “We definitely do not have a high visibility of the sheriff’s deputies in their vehicles in our community.”
Dale added “there’s no question” the sheriff’s office is stretched, with seven patrol cars on duty at any given time to cover the entire 850-square-mile county.
“I’m not blaming the sheriff,” he said. “I’m saying the staffing is just not appropriate.”
Dale said the victims of the home invasions also have received no feedback regarding the investigations or who the perpetrators might be.
Selby said he doesn’t think there is a regular patrol through Carolina Shores.
“I think that’s what’s making it attractive to burglars,” he said.
He said he plans to meet soon with Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett to “discuss being proactive and not reactive.”
The committee is also preparing to set up a date in the near future with a crime prevention officer to “come down and give homeowners suggestions as to how to protect their property,” Selby said.
He said that should happen around the last week of February or first week of March.