Child Starts Neighborhood Watch in West Huntington

By: Carrie Cline Email
By: Carrie Cline Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A spike in crime launches action. Police tell us burglaries and break-ins are up in Huntington recently, and it’s keeping detectives busy tracking the bad guys.

Neighbors are also fighting back against crime in one neighborhood lead by a sixth-grader.

“Assaults and all kinds of robberies,” the young man said.

And this young man's family was the victim of one of those assaults. For that reason, he asked us not to show his face or use his real name, so we'll call him Robbie. He lives in West Huntington and is tired of the crime, so he's taking action and decided to start a neighborhood watch.

“I think people will be less likely to do things they know they can get in trouble for if they know everyone is watching,” Robbie said.

Robbie made signs and knocked on doors to enlist the support of his neighbors, and the response was overwhelming.

“They really wanted help, and half of them already watch. Now they get to do it as a group and patrol,” Robbie said.

Dave Martin lives in the neighborhood. While things are generally quiet, he says neighbors have dealt with their fair share of thefts.

“They broke into my friend Mike's house and stole all of his
DeWalts," Martin said. "It was a theft ring.”

“Overall, crime is down, but we did see a spike recently and that happens,” Huntington Police Department Lt. Dan Underwood said.

That spike was exactly what Martin and Robbie are seeing in their neighborhood -- car break-ins and burglaries. While there are only a handful in Huntington, Underwood says the Huntington Police Department welcomes neighborhood watches.

“They're our extra eyes and ears of the police department," Underwood said. "They are out there. They see things that we don't see because we're not around or hear things we don't hear because we're not around. Then, they call 911 and we can respond.”

“My friends think I'm weird for doing this, but there are a lot of things I do that are weird and I'm proud of that,” Robbie said.

“Good for him. We need all the help we can get from the youngest child to the oldest adult,” Underwood said.

“I’ll be more than happy to help in any way that I can and would be proud to,” Martin.

Starting a neighborhood watch is easy. Underwood says first you need to make sure you have enough neighbors interested in participating. Then, call the police department, and they'll come meet with your group and get you started on the process or patrolling and reporting crime.

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