Snohomish neighbors say goodbye to crime by saying hello to one another

SNOHOMISH, Wash. – Neighbors in a small town in Snohomish County have reverted to old school techniques to solve a modern problem. When the drug users and dealers came into their town, the neighbors said they went outside, saying hello to one another and eventually goodbye to crime.

“It was noisy, there were drug houses, a lot of partying going on,” said Donna Ray, explaining how her Morgantown neighborhood of Snohomish used to be. “We saw drug transactions going down frequently,” said another neighbor. Ray said Morgantown was once considered to be “on the wrong side of the tracks.” Now with the help of one another, they’ve turned their community into a slice of Mayberry.

“They’ve taken it upon themselves to be their own little police department so to speak. But they’re not vigilantes, they’re not out there enforcing the law, but they are helping us to make their neighborhood much safer,” said Snohomish Police Chief John Flood.

In 2012, the Morgantown neighborhood of Snohomish produced 114 calls to 911 in a 9-month span. In six years, they cut that number down to five percent, a 96 percent decrease. “That is a program that is working,” said Flood. “That is a neighborhood that knows how to make it welcoming, yet make it unwelcoming to the criminal element.”

Every time neighbors see someone they didn’t recognize, they say hello. “If we don’t know our neighbors, meet our neighbors, then we don’t know who the strangers are either,” said Larry Baty, who is now a block watch captain.

Every time neighbors see something they think could turn into trouble, Morgantown neighbors let Snohomish Police know.