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Brookhaven Police hope to set up Neighborhood Watch — Program meeting today at 5:30 p.m.

Brookhaven police are offering information at a Neighborhood Watch start-up meeting today for residents who want to make their community safer.

The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Brookhaven Building at 1154 Beltline Drive. Anyone interested in starting or participating in a Neighborhood Watch program is encouraged to attend.

Police Chief Kenneth Collins said neighbors must watch out for each other to help law enforcement possibly prevent crimes as well as solve cases already under investigation.

“If you see something, say something,” Collins said. “That’s the only way we can get better, with the community’s help. You might think it’s nothing, but it might be the missing piece we need to put a piece of the puzzle together.”

Collins is encouraging neighborhoods to get together and participate in the program, but even if they don’t, he urges the public to get involved when they see something unusual or criminal occurring on their street.

“If you see somebody breaking into somebody’s house stealing their big screen and you don’t call nobody, don’t get angry when they break in your house and steal your big screen,” he said. “We’ve got to get better than that. There ain’t no future if we don’t get better than that. I don’t care how much law enforcement that you have, unless you get participation from the community, it’s not going to do so good.”

Collins said he wants to see neighbors watching over each other, “Just like in the old days when you could leave your doors unlocked because you know your neighbor wasn’t going to let nobody go in your house because they knew you weren’t at home. That’s the way it used to be.”

He blames social media and hurried lifestyles for the lack of empathy for each other.

“We need to start speaking to people and waving to people. You’d be surprised how far that will go. We’ve got to help protect ourselves,” he said.

He said people should be aware of their neighborhood so that when something is out of place or someone unusual is lurking around, they can call the authorities.

“You ride by and think, ‘Awe, that ain’t nothing,’ then the next time you hear about it, somebody’s done got hurt or that same person has broken into your neighbor’s house or your house,” he said. “If you see something that looks out of place, sometimes that will be the piece of the puzzle that we need to put it together.

“If someone’s walking through your neighborhood, or walking through your yard, or walking through your neighbor’s yard, I think someone needs to call someone and let us check them out. If they’re legit, fine. We’ll come and talk to the person and ask their name and what they’re doing. They should not get offended if they’re not breaking the law. If they get offended if we ask, ‘How are you doing? What is your name?,’ Well then, why? We’re doing our job to keep the community safe. It’s nice to know who is in the area so if we get a break-in we’ve got a list of suspects to start from. We must watch each other’s backs because we are our brothers’ keepers. We’ve got to keep Brookhaven safe.”