UPDATE: New Neighborhood Watch Program Leads to Arrests

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
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UPDATE 8/10/2013@11:15 p.m.
DUNBAR, W.Va. (WSAZ) --Police in Dunbar say their city is becoming safer thanks to neighbors like you.

Officers started the Neighborhood Crime Watch Program just a few months ago and say they're already seeing big progress.

"What we're noticing is that crime is decreasing in some areas," Chief Earl E. Whittington said. "We're not getting as many calls. Or in some cases, we're getting more calls to report suspicious people."

Police say tips from the program have already led to several arrests.

They say neighbors on Fourth Street helped them arrest Jan Johnson, a man accused of stealing weed eaters, lawnmowers and other items out of their yards.

Officers say Johnson was charged and later released to medics.

Alan Taylor lives in Dunbar and says he's always tried to help clean up the community.

"I've been here 35 years and I watch the place all the time," he said. " Everybody should be looking out for their neighbors, especially if they hear unusual noises."

Police say a major purpose of the program is to help neighbors meet each other and meet their officers.

"We're trying to build that bond with the officers as well as the community," Whittington said. "We want them to trust their officers more and feel comfortable giving them information."

Police say tips from the program have also led to felony drug charges for a man on parole. His name is not being released right now.

DUNBAR, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Dunbar Police kicked off their new neighborhood crime watch program Saturday with a record-setting attendance meeting for Ward 3.

More than 60 people showed up at City Hall to join forces against crime, and police say it was the biggest representation of a single ward they'd ever seen.

"We're excited that this many people want to get involved," Chief Earl. E. Whittington said. "If everyone's dedicated to the program like we want them to be, I think what we're going to get accomplished is going to be endless."

Leaders say the program is not only a chance for neighbors to meet their police officers, but also to get to know each other - because they say it's much easier to help friends.

"Know when they're going to be on vacation and when they're going to be out of town so you can look out for each other," Ward 3 councilwoman Connie J. Thompson said.

Police say they've tried similar programs in the past but saw them fizzle as involvement dropped off.

But they say if this kind of showing continues, they say the new program will help stop criminals in their tracks.

Community members like Pamela Kinder say they joined the program to increase their sense of security.

"I see a lot of stuff going on around 16th St. where I live, so I just want to try and make things better so you feel safer," she said.

The next meeting will be held for Ward 4 at 3 p.m. next Saturday at City Hall.

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