By Ryan Thomason
The past two months, Dixon has seen a rise in neighborhood and commercial burglaries; we see it in the police log every week. The police are limited in what they can do because they can only be in so many places at one time. This fact is one that many people forget about when they complain about these crimes. In recent years there has been a seemingly disconnection with the police and citizens in the community. Citizens feel as though police are not properly ridding the community of crime and nuisances, and police do not have the adequate information of the crimes and problems or the manpower to respond to all of the citizen’s complaints. Many members of the community feel as though the police are not addressing particular issues that apply to their neighborhood and community which can cause a feeling of unrest and resentment amongst the citizens. The solution: start a neighborhood watch program.
Neighborhood watch gives neighbors the opportunity to take a proactive stance against crimes such as burglary and vandalism. It allows for an open communication between the particular neighborhood and the local police department. When a neighborhood sees a rise in a particular issue, they are able to contact local authorities, and the police will take the appropriate actions to eliminate crime. Likewise, if a particular crime is seen in a neighborhood, the police can contact the neighborhood watch members and let them know what the crime is, and what actions they can take to deter it. An example of this is if a series of burglaries is occurring in an area that has a neighborhood watch. An officer will contact the group, tell them about the crime, and he/she may advice the group to go on walks in the evening and keep their eyes open for crime.
Neighborhood watch also raises awareness. It allows for neighborhoods to exchange contact information and become familiar with one another’s schedule. If a person knows his/her neighbor works from 9am to 5pm and the garage is still open at noon, they can contact the owner of the house and make sure everything is fine and it is not a crime in progress or a medical emergency. This neighborhood network allows for open communications with one another, along with an accessible means of communicating with the police department.In order to start up a neighborhood watch program, anyone who is interested must go to the police department and schedule a meeting with the neighborhood members and retired officer Elaine Perry, who oversees the program. A captain of the watch group will be selected and it is this person who the police contacts and he/she will pass on information to the group. Anyone interested in starting up this program is encouraged to visit the police department.