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Thirteen areas sign up for Watch program — Neighborhood groups hope to reduce crime

A second Neighborhood Watch meeting will be Thursday to get interested groups up and running.

Cpl. Robbie Fields is facilitating the program through the Brookhaven Police Department and in the two weeks since the first meeting, 13 groups have formed.

Representatives from those groups plus anyone else who wants to get a group started will meet this week at 5:30 p.m. at the Brookhaven Building on Belt Line Drive.

Brookhaven Alderwoman-at-Large Karen Sullivan will speak about the success they’ve seen since the Vernondale Neighborhood watch was enacted nine years ago.

Her group uses a Facebook page to coordinate the neighbors on the 10 streets included in their neighborhood watch.

Photos of cars with broken windows from a recent rash of burglaries were posted on the page, with warnings to residents to be on the lookout for the suspects.

Sullivan said their group rarely meets in person anymore since most of their communications are through phone calls and Facebook. However, there have been many new families move into the neighborhood. She’s asking Vernondale residents to attend the meeting so they can have a face-to-face get-together and discuss strategies for keeping their neighborhood safe.

Fields will have paperwork for group representatives to complete to get them established. The police department is furnishing one Neighborhood Watch sign for the first 15 groups registered. Fields will have order information to purchase additional street signs, lawn signs and window decals.

Sullivan suggests that street signs be placed at each entrance to a neighborhood to let criminals know that efforts are being made to curb the crime in those areas.

Fields said she was surprised that so many neighborhoods were interested in starting a watch program.

“But I’m glad. It shows a lot that we’re concerned with Brookhaven. I think it’s time. People are getting tired. They want to stick together,” she said.

For more information about starting a Neighborhood Watch program, call 601-833-2424.