Taking back the neighborhood

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Kennett City Council heard from community members on Monday night expressing their concerns with violence and crime in their neighborhoods.

The citizens were quick to praise the police department and their efforts to maintain law and order, however suggestions were made for increased patrols and neighborhood watch programs.

A neighborhood watch program is a group of people living in the same area who want to make their neighborhood safer by working together with law enforcement to reduce crime.

Watch programs usually integrate these steps.

Recruit and organize as many neighbors as possible, contact your local law enforcement agency and schedule a meeting, discuss community concerns and develop a plan, and hold regular meetings as well as implement a phone tree.

Usually there is a block captain appointed that organizes and oversees the watch program.

These programs have been very effective in reducing crime when implemented properly.

There are also many preventative measures we can take to protect our homes.

Keep your doors locked.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), forty percent of burglaries donít involve forced entry, which means people are leaving doors and windows unlocked.

Create the illusion youíre always home.

The majority of burglaries take place when people arenít home, particularly during the day, while people are at work.

Leave on the lights, the radio, or the television.

If youíre going on vacation donít advertise your absence.

Arrange for someone to pick up your mail, mow the lawn, and set out your trash cans.

Also add lighting around your home.

Criminals shy away from well-lit areas.

Lastly, get to know your neighbors.

Imagine that.

Being friendly and creating relationships with those in your community.

Tight-knit communities suffer fewer burglaries because people look out for each other and strangers stick out.

Author Marc Dunkleman wrote a book recently titled ďThe Vanishing Neighbor.Ē

He argues that one of the most significant changes in the United States in recent decades is the decay of what he calls middle ring relationships.

Those that involve people who are not as close as kin, but not as distant as a mere acquaintance.

I remember my old neighborhood where I grew up.

It was a four to six block radius bordered by an empty field where we kids would build forts and play ball.

I can still remember the names of our neighbors, many who were like family.

The Brooks family and their french poodle, FiFi. The Johnsonís who owned the local bicycle shop.

The Heckís who were pseudo-grandparents to my brother and I.

The neighborhood kids, Billy, Tommy, Todd, Kelly, Lynn.

The corner grocery store and gas station.

You know thinking back on it, I donít recall one of those homes ever being broke into or a business in that neighborhood being robbed.

We were a tight-knit community.

Perhaps a simple gesture of getting to know our neighbors may be a part of the solution.

Or at the very least a step in the right direction.

Thanks for reading neighbor.

See you out there.

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