Killeen: Residents say they’re taking their neighborhood back

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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Some Killeen homeowners in the Marlboro Heights subdivision say they’re taking back their neighborhood after a recent increase in suspicious activity.

Peggy Peterson has called the Marlboro Heights subdivision home for more than 30 years. (Photo by Kathleen Serie)

Peggy Peterson has called the area home for more than 30 years.

"Things have really changed, and not for the better,” she said.

She said vandalism, car and home break-ins, and other suspicious activity have increased in the last few years.

"Things have just gotten a little out of control,” Peterson said.

Peterson said many neighbors who have lived in Marlboro Heights since the 1960s are starting to pass away, meaning some people in the neighborhood aren’t as familiar with each other as they used to be.

"It's sad that as long as I have been here, and other residents, we have to take other measures now to be safe in our own homes,” she said.

Even her own property was affected sometime this fall.

"I have two BB shots in the back of my vehicle, and I can't tell you when it happened, I just was outside one day and I noticed it,” Peterson said.

That incident is what prompted Peterson to contact the Killeen Police Department to start a formal neighborhood watch group.

She said about 50 neighbors are interested so far.

Peterson is currently in the process of handing out more information to her neighbors, like Carmen Perales.

"I wouldn't want anything to happen to anybody,” Perales said.

“That's why I like to keep an eye on everything and everybody that I can."

She said the neighborhood especially needs to take care of the elderly.

“Our elderly people deserve to be in an area where they can feel safe in their own home,” Peterson said.

Rodrecus Johnson, Jr. is a pastor at nearby Anderson Chapel A.M.E.

He said the neighborhood has the potential to become safe and sound again, as long as residents work together.
"Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” Pastor Johnson said.

“Being accountable for one another."

As the watch group gets off the ground, Peterson said she hopes it can start a transformation of Marlboro Heights.
"It was a safer neighborhood, and I know it can get back to that, or even better,” she said.