When To Report Suspicious Neighbors


By Ashley Thompson

Law enforcement have confirmed 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes as the man who is holding a 5-year-old boy hostage in Dale County. Recently, neighbors of Dykes have spoken out about his odd behavior but could they have done more to prevent the situation at hand?

Neil Smart has been in his current home for 20 years. He says his neighborhood is one where everyone knows everyone and says he feels safer because of it.

"Whenever someone leaves to go on vacation, they alert their neighbors to be on the lookout," he says. "We all know about break-ins, suspicious activities, anything unusual that might be happening in the neighborhood."

Reports of alleged kidnapper Jimmy Lee Dykes' odd behavior has recently come to light from his neighbors and unusual activity is something Montgomery County Chief Deputy Derrick Cunningham says you should always take seriously, by reporting it.

"Anything that's suspicious to you, is suspicious to us," he says. "At least let us come and investigate it. Let us document it. If it's that mind puzzling to you, let us know."

Cunningham says often people are scared to come forward for fear of crying wolf but says checking out suspicious activity is part of the job.

"Please don't feel like that you're bothering us. Please don't feel like that you're hindering our job. The more eyes, the more ears law enforcement has out in the community, the more information we can gather," he explains.

Bunny Neely is a homeowner and has been the driving force behind a community association that meets monthly in her neighborhood.  She says having such a group allows her neighbors to feel comfortable in their surroundings.

"Everybody's looking out for everybody now. We say a nosy neighbor is a good neighbor," she says.

Neely says being nosy is often viewed negatively but says being extra intrusive can help prevent crime. 

"I'm not trying to be in your business," she says. "I'm not trying to find out what you're doing in your house but I'm going to be aware if something does look different."

Neely Bunny received the Neighborhood Leadership Award from Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. She says although she received the award, it was a neighborhood effort.

If you do suspect suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, again you are encouraged to call authorities at  334-241-2651. You CAN remain anonymous.