7 years in, Nashville neighborhood touts watch group for drop in crime

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WRKN) – Certain days in November cast a gray shroud and create a sense of gloom. Bordeaux Hills is fighting that kind of perception.

“We didn’t get here overnight, and we had a reputation,” says Ruby Baker, the neighborhood watch director.

Past impressions led to that reality, but change was always possible.

“We have people that are here and plan to stay here,” Baker says. “Crime was a factor. We were afraid to go to our mailboxes, I for one.”

(Photo: WKRN)

Baker and the other people in this community wanted to take back their neighborhood. They want to come outside more, enjoy their property, spend time in their front yards, without being afraid.

Initially, seven years ago, neighbors worried about retaliation.

“It was either we were going to be afraid or we’re going to step out and build relationship with police department.”

Watch members first reported crimes to officers anonymously. They were building trust in the process.

It’s since led to streamlined communication.

“We set up robo calls where we have phone numbers and exchange them. I send out information or alerts,” Baker says.

Ruby Baker (Photo: WKRN)

It worked recently when three teens escaped from a youth detention facility. They were hiding near Panorama Drive.

Baker was able to warn her neighbors.

“We became the eyes and ears of the neighborhood for the police department, so that’s what’s working for us.”

This community bounced back after the 2010 flood, a nearby plaque commemorates that, and now the restoration continues. Baker says the watch group is proof.

Her advice for people considering a neighborhood watch group is to have patience and start slowly. She recommends starting with one street and then branching out. Bordeaux Hills says it’s seen a reduction in property crime and violent crime, and the quality of life has improved.