Wednesday, April 24, 2013--5:45p.m.
BELOIT--"It seems pretty quiet, there's no, I haven't seen any gang activity or nothing, you know," said Russell France, a new resident in one of Beloit's 50 neighborhood watch areas. "Prevents people from breaking in, you know and stealing stuff out of the yards, why not? you know, might as well do it," he said of the watch.
Police say the presence of a watch can help keep a neighborhood from heading in the wrong direction. "That's really what all of these programs in communities are doing nowadays," said Beloit Police Chief Norman Jacobs. "They need to stabilise neighborhoods to keep people there, so that they can build some kind of cohesion and fight the problems that split neighborhoods apart and get areas run down."
They can also provide police with specific information--rather than a generic, harder to use, tip. "Neighborhood watch groups are great for watching drug activity," said Chief Jacobs. "Now most communities have drug activity here and there in their communities, but a neighborhood watch group can give information to the police about the exact times and locations where drug dealing is happening in their neighborhoods."
And getting a watch started in your community is pretty simple. "It doesn't have to be an official neighborhood watch block group, it could be anything that your community offers," said Chief Jacobs, noting that several area communities offer watch-type programs.
If you're interested in getting involved with a neighborhood watch, contact your local police department.