Watchers offer law enforcement a helping hand

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, March 17, 2013

What could be more neighborly than looking out for each other?

This is the simple but powerful idea behind Neighborhood Watch programs, which involve small groups of residents keeping an eye out against crime around their homes and nearby residences.

Lincoln County is home to three such watch programs – the Old Town Neighborhood Watch group, the Vernondale Neighborhood Watch group and a third in the county.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

All the groups stress that theirs is not a vigilante service; rather, they simply report to law officers what they see.

“We are just another set of eyes,” said Old Town group leader, Johnny Perkins last week. “… We reaffirm to people that we are only here to report to police. We don’t want people taking action into their own hands.”

As with so many parts of our day-to-day life, Neighborhood Watch enjoys the benefits of the modern conveniences of the Internet, email, texting and Facebook. Of course, an old-fashioned phone call or a word over a back fence is always a means of communication, too.

A national organization offers street signs and window decals that warn would-be criminals that they’re entering a Neighborhood Watch area and their activity might be reported.

Perkins cited the cooperative relationship between the Watch groups and law enforcement. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office even has an officer appointed to work with the programs.

Perkins would like to see the Brookhaven Police Department also provide a designated point of contact for the groups. It sounds like a good idea.