Honey Ridge residents form Neighborhood Watch to push back crime

bpurser@macon.comApril 15, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- More than two dozen residents gathered Tuesday night to officially form a Neighborhood Watch program for the Honey Ridge Plantation subdivision.

Plagued with a rash of burglaries, larcenies and other crimes in recent months, residents are banding together to take their neighborhood back. The meeting was held in the roll call room of the Warner Robins Law Enforcement Center.

Police Capt. John Clay talked about what a Neighborhood Watch program is and what it isn’t.

“We’re watching out for each other,” Clay said. “We’re watching out for suspicious people. We don’t see each other as nosey neighbors but trying to help and watch out for each other.”

Neighborhood Watch, however, is not residents on patrol, Clay said.

“It puts too much of a chance of an altercation if you see a really bad guy,” Clay said.

Instead, residents should tip off police and let them handle the situation.

“That’s what we get paid to do,” he said, making it clear that tips can be anonymous.

Neighborhood Watch programs do not have enforcement authority, Clay said. Members cannot force a neighbor to clean up a yard or haul away junk vehicles, but they can call code enforcement.

During the meeting, residents talked about putting up security cameras. One homeowner whose residence has been broken into twice wasn’t convinced that cameras would help after a suspect was caught on surveillance footage but wasn’t arrested.

Others said that if enough people had security cameras, movement throughout the subdivision could be captured and improve the odds of identifying suspects and ensuring arrests.

Residents also talked about keeping a watch on two street entrances in and out of the neighborhood. They also discussed how to monitor pathways used to access the subdivision.

The group agreed to have two coordinators of the Neighborhood Watch program and to keep in contact by email and telephone. Clay suggested the group meet every three or four months in neighborhood homes or in a nearby church or school.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.

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