Meeting to focus on Neighborhood Watch plan

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, September 26, 2010

With interior pursuits like television or surfing the Internetkeeping more people inside their homes, neighbors are becoming moreunlikely to know each other or to be on the lookout for suspiciousactivities in their communities.

In an effort to change that trend locally and also possibly reducecrime, a Neighborhood Watch informational meeting will be heldTuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church MinistryCenter near the downtown post office.

“We’ve had a lot of people asking for it,” said Ward Four AldermanShirley Estes, who has been working with Alderman at Large KarenSullivan, Police Chief Pap Henderson and Lincoln County SheriffSteve Rushing to implement Neighborhood Watch programs inside thecity. “It’s being driven by concerns over the activities that havebeen going on.”

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Estes said burglaries, break-ins and similar instances have madepeople more concerned about their surroundings. She is hoping for agood turnout for Tuesday’s event.

“Neighbors don’t know each other like they used to,” said Estes,mentioning activities that are keeping people inside their homesmore often. “If you don’t know your neighbor, you don’t know who tocall (when something is suspicious).”

Estes said people may always call the police department to reportsuspicious activity or something that might seem out of theordinary. But community togetherness is another positive that canresult from Neighborhood Watch groups.

“I think there’s a great benefit in getting to know your neighborsand who lives near you,” Estes said.

Rushing said Tuesday’s meeting will feature a discussion on theprogram, guidelines and how to establish programs in variousneighborhoods.

“We’re going to help them set up the format and get started,”Rushing said.

Neighborhood Watch programs work with the sheriff’s department.Rushing said city programs will be coordinated with the policedepartment.

Tuesday’s meeting will be the first step toward establishing Watchprograms in specific areas. Rushing indicated future meetings wouldbe focused on programs created for designated neighborhoods.

“This is more of an informational meeting,” Rushing said aboutTuesday. “Once you get your area designated, we’ll help you get itset up.”