Hoping to take a bite out of crime in their neighborhood, citizens in the Campaign-Eastside area have banded together to form a community watch program.
“I’ve heard from other towns with the community watch and they have had a big drop in the number of thefts in their neighborhoods,” said 7th District Constable Jason Dodson, who is spearheading the idea of bringing the watch to his district. “Some places have seen a 70 percent drop in things like petty thefts.”
The new community watch brings the total to three in Warren County with more on the way.
“We now have watches in Lucky, Morrison and Campaign-Eastside,” said Constable Jonathan Womack, who serves as a national watch trainer after attending certification classes offered by the Office of Homeland Security. “We also had inquiries from other communities and I’d be happy to come out and help coordinate any efforts. Anyone interested can call me at 409-7151.”
The community watch program uses neighborhood residents to help keep a lookout for any unusual and criminal behavior. Signs are generally posted in participating communities to let potential thieves know the program is in effect.
“It’s really a tool where we can share information, not only within our own neighborhoods but with other watches around the county and with law enforcement,” Womack said, noting anyone can go to the Facebook page named Warren County Community Watch. “It’s a public page so anyone can access it.”
As is the case for most community watch programs, there is a monthly meeting. The organizational meeting for the Eastside-Campaign group featured speakers such as Constable Junior Pennington, Ben Lomand security representative Chris Grissom and sheriff’s deputy Jason Satterwhite. There were 34 people in attendance.
“One of the neat things about having these watches around the county is that by sharing we learn that one part of the county may be having the same problems as the other,” Womack said, noting his home neighborhood at Lucky has had a watch for about five years, while Morrison began its program this year. “We even have one group in our neighborhood who has been trained and actively patrols.”
Womack said community watchers are not trained officers, nor do they carry guns or have lights on their cars. Instead they are meant to be an extra set of eyes to help law enforcement by reporting suspicious activity.
“This is not the nosey neighbor program,” Womack said, noting community watch programs have been proven to reduce crime.