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Bellevue neighbors take extra steps to protect community

FOX 17 News

Weeks after a man died trying to protect his family and Bellevue neighbors from car thieves, homeowners are taking extra steps to protect themselves.

Mary Elliston has lived in the Traceside Bellevue neighborhood for only four months and says she is shaken up by the recent deadly shooting.

“I’ve always been drawn to this neighborhood. It’s always so warm and friendly,” Elliston said.

Her warm and friendly neighborhood turned into a cold crime scene two weeks ago when a man fed up with car break-ins in the Traceside community, died when chasing down car thieves.

”It broke my heart because nobody deserves that. Nobody,” said Elliston.

Since then, neighbors, who have long complained of a lack of police presence to deter crime, have considered doing more to protect themselves like gating the community. Gating the community would mean giving the code to every person who would need to access the neighborhood to deliver services and hiring security. Gating the community would essentially make the neighborhood streets private, according to Councilwoman Sheri Wiener.

“Maybe limiting (the gate) to specific hours like evening time, having gated access to the community at that point,” suggested neighborhood watch member Marcel Hernandez.

Hernandez says police are doing the best the can with a shrinking budget and short staff. In the meantime, neighbors are being more vigilant, buying door bells with cameras, adding extra neighborhood lighting and home security cameras.

“At the end of the day, we would all feel a little safer with more police presence," Hernandez said. "But at the end of the day, it falls on us as residents to remain proactive."

Bellevue councilmembers recently held a safety meeting. Police have agreed to come to homes and businesses to conduct security checks, letting owners know where their property might be vulnerable. They also agreed to do more patrols.

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