PLANTERSVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Willie Sue Betts remembers all too well when her home was burglarized twice in two weeks.
The first time they stole money.
"The next week, would you believe they came back in again? Of course I would have to be foolish to put money back in the same place and they didn't get anything," Betts said.
She is a firm believer in the power of the Neighborhood Watch program.
"Someone said that someone was being nosy. I said I don't call it nosy. I call it being concerned," Betts added.
Equally concerned is Marcel Jojola.
The California transplant and veteran law enforcement officer devotes his time to Plantersville free of charge.
Under his guidance, the approach to law enforcement changed dramatically and according to the city officials, so has the crime rate. Last month, there were zero crime reports.
"We've re-identified with the general public. We've reduced crime. We've addressed juvenile needs. We need to be at the schools. We need to be involved," Jojola said.
A top priority is the Neighborhood Watch program.
"Visibility of police officers is the most important thing. You can't be every place at the same time 24 hours a day. Neighbors taking care of neighbors and watching out for the best interest of the neighbors is the best tool we have in reducing crime," Jojola added.
The pursuit is on to enhance the reserve officer program. Qualified people with law enforcement experience become a volunteer labor force much like volunteer firefighters.
"The bottom line is when we deal with community oriented policing, one hand washes the other hand. We are providing the citizens with a service, but we are a part of the community," Jojola said.
City officials say their partnership with the Lee County Sheriff's Department is also key to a reduced crime rate.