MACON, Ga. — Tuesday, people in south Bibb County packed into a room at the South Bibb Recreation Center for the first neighborhood watch meeting of the year.
The Bibb County Sheriff's Office says it's the first meeting they've had for the area in a long time, and they expected a big crowd. It was standing room only inside the rec center as people peppered the sheriff's office with questions.
They prepared for 100 people, but they got about 200. Many of them came armed with questions about crime in their neighborhoods.
"They addressed our concerns and told us Captain Meadows would be increasing patrols. We have not seen any patrols," said Natasha Allmon about a recent incident in her neighborhood.
One woman asked for updates on the shooting of the Patel family on Thoroughbred Lane.
"I read the reports on it, and it supposedly wasn't a targeted situation, and that it was gang-related," she said.
Maj. Chris Patterson offered a quick update. He told the crowd they no longer believe it was gang-related, and have one suspect in custody. He says they're closing in on another.
Most people in the room were eager to learn how to help.
"I want to know what we can do as a community to report these and try to get these people out of our community," one man said.
Hearing concerns and getting contact information were the main objectives for the sheriff's office.
"If something happens in the neighborhood, we want to be able to get the word out so that you guys know," said Capt. George Meadows, who oversees the neighborhood watch.
Deputies also gave crime safety tips. Their biggest piece of advice: record serial numbers for expensive items.
"Once it gets to the pawn shop, if we don't have a serial number, we can't prove it's yours," Meadows said.
Sheriff David Davis also reported some updated numbers on the deputy shortage. He says now, they only need about 100 more deputies. Last year, they hired 130 full and part-time staff members.
Davis says his office has applied for a grant to pay for Flock cameras. That's a camera system that can read license plates.
It would give the sheriff's office access to a statewide database to track possible suspects.
Davis says if the grant is approved, the system would be installed county-wide.