RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. -- A group for neighbors in Randolph County to communicate about crime is shutting down. The cover photo at the top of the Randolph County Crime Alerts Facebook page says “temporarily closed.” Prior to this week, it's been a resource for neighbors to communicate and warn each other about suspicious and illegal activity.
- Eric Hicks ran against Greg Seabolt for Randolph County Sheriff. On Tuesday, Hicks lost.
- The Randolph County Crime Alerts Facebook page has almost 19,000 neighbors communicating and warning each other about crime.
- After six years running the group, Hicks now plans to shut it down.
"A few months ago my son's go-cart was stolen off of my carport. Within 45 minutes of posting about it on the page, we located the go-cart and were able to get it back,” said Randolph County resident April Marsh.
"Most of the intel that came from our county, from our victims, our residents, suspicious activity, BNEs, robberies, and so forth came directly to me,” said page creator and admin Eric Hicks.
After six years running the group, Hicks now plans to shut it down.
"I want to take a break. We have a new sheriff,” Hicks said. “And having that new sheriff, Mr. Seabolt, he brings a large amount of knowledge in traffic enforcement, and we want to see what he can do for this county."
Hicks ran against Greg Seabolt for Randolph County Sheriff. On Tuesday, though, he lost.
"One of his big platforms was communication. We've established that on my side,” Hicks explained. “Now it's time for me to step back, allow him the respect of that office, and see what he can do."
Neighbors tell Spectrum News this page acts as a virtual neighborhood watch. But they say if it shuts down, there won’t be a place for nearly 19,000 people to communicate about that watch.
"I absolutely think he should keep it open,” Marsh said. “I think it's a valuable resource and I think the community would be at a great disservice without that page."
"Is there any way that you're not wanting to run this page because you're sour about the election?" reporter Ashley Claster asked Hicks.
“No. I'm not a sore loser. I'm not upset about losing,” Hicks responded. “As they've seen this page come to a halt, it's to respect Mr. Seabolt. He's taken candidacy, let's see where he goes with it."
"He doesn't have to have the title of sheriff to be a crime fighter,” Marsh said. “Crime is already coming down. We're already seeing that people are getting together and they're working together like the police to shut it down and keep it from happening. So he's already accomplished what his goal was. He doesn't have to have the title of sheriff to do that."
Hicks says the page will re-open in six months to a year if he feels communication isn't strong enough under the new sheriff. Hicks said he is not willing to turn over ownership of the page to newly-elected Sheriff Seabolt.