KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR: Communication helps communities - KMSP-TV

KNOW YOUR NEIGHBOR: Communication helps communities

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

One of the biggest questions coming out of Cleveland is how could the captivity of three kidnapped women have been hidden for a decade, and it's prompting new focus on knowing your neighbors.

In Ohio, neighbors of Ariel Castro say they did notice odd things over the years that now certainly seem suspicious -- but it's a street where people move in and out, and may keep to themselves.

Florene Pattain has lived in the same house on St. Paul's Aurora Avenue since 1971, and she admits she doesn't know all her neighbors. In part, Pattain said it's because she keeps to herself, but it's also because people move in and out in her area too.

"Usually, people try to mind their own business and leave other people alone in this neighborhood," she said.

Yet, St. Paul tops the nation in National Night Out participation along with Minneapolis. Crime prevention experts say that once-a-year connection is a hug.

"Just say, 'Hi! I'm your neighbor and gee, I've never met you before,'" urged Pam McCreary, crime prevention coordinator in St. Paul. "Once they get to know each other, they have that first step of when they see the neighbor in the yard or they see somebody, they're more willing to say, 'Hi, how are you?'"

The peace garden across the street from Pattain's home is where the block holds its summer celebration, and McCreary said more connections with neighbors means there's more of a chance someone will notice something out of the ordinary.

"They continue to communicate after that one single night that they meet that person and it brings them together," she said.

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