Neighborhood watches becoming a thing of the past

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — Many have shown initial interest in having a Neighborhood Watch in their area until they learn about what it takes.

“We have people who have asked about it,” Police Chief Daniel Grant said.

Grant said once the police department provides the information, the people rarely call back.

Riverview Police Chief Clifford Rosebohm agreed. He said that when people learn what goes into starting a Neighborhood Watch, they appear to lose interest.

“It takes organization and focus,” Rosebohm said, noting that Riverview doesn’t have any Neighborhood Watch organizations. “There is a time commitment.”

“We have zero (Neighborhood Watch programs) in Wyandotte,” Grant said.

He would like to see them here.

“I think they are good and very effective,” Grant said. “They are a great concept.”

The first step to starting one is to define what the neighborhood is going to be.

“It can’t just be one block,” Grant said. “We would have 300 Neighborhood Watch organizations in the city.”

Grant said there really is no set area, but there has to be more than one block in a Neighborhood Watch program.

Amanda Willis of Wyandotte once seriously considered starting a watch program in her community after her boyfriend’s car was broken into in front of a friend’s home.

“It made me more alert to crime,” Willis said.

Thieves stole a laptop, camera and other items after smashing the window, Willis said.

“I talked to neighbors about starting the program and we learned about what it would take,” Willis said. “But it takes the commitment from more than just a few people. You actually need the whole neighborhood to commit, or at least many of them.”

Organizing a Neighborhood Watch entails contacting your respective police department, finding out what needs to be done, defining the area to be covered and holding a meeting with 51 percent of the residents in that particular area present.

“They do take work,” Grant said.

However, he said when the neighbors work together, it helps keep neighborhoods safer.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)

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