Well known Sarasota neighborhood watch captain weighs in on Zimmerman

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Posted: Friday, July 12, 2013 10:08 pm

SARASOTA-- She is, perhaps, Sarasota's best crime fighter without a badge.

Since the 1980's, Linda Holland has served as the Gillespie Park Neighborhood Association's Neighborhood Watch Coordinator. And since her arrival, things have been getting a lot better.

"You had drug dealers and prostitutes on almost every street corner in Gillespie Park. We, the residents decided we would have to take proactive action to remedy that," said Holland.

During her walks around the neighborhood, or patrol if you want to call it that, Holland carries nothing more than a flashlight and clipboard. She wears a bright gold shirt with the words, "Neighborhood Watch" on the front.

"We aren't going to let you take over our neighborhood and we are going to protect our property and ourselves by working with the police department and being additional eyes and ears," said Holland.

George Zimmerman was the eyes and ears of his community, but the neighborhood watch captain carried a pistol, something Holland condemns.

"We were instructed by the police department that we could not carry any type of weapons. we adhere to that policy," said Holland.

Having a weapon or not, Holland feels awful about the event that unfolded in Sanford on February 26, 2012.

"I think it's so unfortunate that this other situation happened. I feel terrible for both families," said Holland.

What she doesn't feel terrible about is knowing just how valuable a neighborhood watch can be,  despite any negative misconceptions that may be linked to these groups after the Zimmerman case.

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