Neighborhood Watch, more important than ever?


POSTED: Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 9:24pm

UPDATED: Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 9:26pm

The horror story of three women kidnapped and tortured for a decade is gripping the nation and it's reminding us of our duties as neighbors.

NewsChannel Nine spoke with the El Paso Police Department, who says it is impossible to have a police officer in every block at all times, so community involvement is a must in order to reduce the opportunity for crimes. That's where Neighborhood Watch programs step in.

"It's just shocking that would happen here in the states, but it doesn't surprise me anymore," said West El Paso resident Alma Beach.

It's tragedies like that one, the neighborhood watch program is meant to prevent. It's proven to reduce crime throughout the nation and has made a difference here in El Paso, according to the El Paso Police Department.

"It's a team concept. It's neighbors and neighborhoods bonding together with law enforcement to keep our community safe," said Darrel Petry with the El Paso Police Department.

Petry says you're part of the reason why El Paso is one of the safest cities in the nation. The program works when people actively participate to reduce crime by:

• Getting to know your neighbors
• Educating yourself about suspicious activities and learning how to report it to the police
• Learning home and personal safety

People we spoke to around town said while they don't have an organized neighborhood watch program, they make sure to keep an eye out.

"We sorta took care of each other and if there was a suspicious car parked in front that we all knew didn't belong there.We sort of just kept abreast of what's going on," said West El Paso resident, Eliza Martin.

They do have their own system in place.

"We let each other know when we're going out of town," said West El Paso resident.

And it's not about being a nosy neighbor, some say it's about saving a life.

"Just pay attention to little things and maybe we can help somebody out," said Beach.

If you don't know your neighbors, it's never too late to introduce yourself.

"Make sure you know your neighbors. Get out there and introduce yourselves or maybe you're new to the area but that's what we did. We didn't know anybody in El Paso. We moved to El Paso, we just introduced ourselves, so just do it," said Martin.

The Neighborhood Watch Program started in the 1970's to fight large increases in neighborhood crime. If you'd like to start a Neighborhood Watch in your neighborhood please call (915) 759-2004.

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