Police Call for Help with Watch Programs in High-Crime Areas

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Bill Surrat lives on the West Side Hill and says he's slowly watched crime take over his neighborhood.

"I've been broken into twice...there have been other neighbors that have been broken into," he said. "I can't stand right here and [point] to three."

Police say prowlers and break-ins are common on the Hill, where neighbors report an abundance of "nuisance crimes."

Officers are cracking down, but they say they can't do it alone.

They're trying to start neighborhood watch programs in trouble spots on the West Side, but they say fear is preventing many from participating.

"There's a lot of fear of retaliation and witness intimidation," Sgt. George Henderson said. "But if you're part of a neighborhood watch program, you can let your neighbor know, 'Hey, I just saw someone walk past your house.'"

Henderson says he's seen several watch programs on the West Side thrive and take care of problems.

Surrat hopes his neighbors band together to break the silence and stop criminals in their tracks.

"It's kind of hard to watch out for everybody unless you have some kind of plan," he said.

WSAZ NewsChannel 3 645 Fifth Avenue Huntington, WV 25701 304-697-4780 WSAZ Charleston 111 Columbia Avenue Charleston, WV 25302 304-344-3521
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