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Story Archives: Communication key to Neighborhood Watch program
|Communication key to Neighborhood Watch program|
Local and parish residents turned out at the Arcade Theatre in Ferriday last week to learn more about the creation of a Neighborhood Watch program, which citizens in Ferriday are working to organize.
Proponents include a number of local ministers, civic leaders and law enforcement officials.
Neighborhood Watch programs are designed to organize citizens to help prevent crime and vandalism in their neighborhoods by working with law enforcement.
Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office Chief Investigator Bobby Sheppard said the key to the program is communication.
"There has to be continuing contact inside the neighborhood and between the neighborhood and law enforcement," Sheppard said.
He said the Neighborhood Watch coordinator and block captain fill important roles in the program.
"The captain will make contact in his or her block and will be assigned from 10 to 15 houses," Sheppard said. "It's the captain's responsibility to touch base with those households to see what's going on and to keep them informed."
He said the coordinator is the liaison between the block captain and law enforcement.
Block captains and coordinators can set up meetings, training sessions and other programs during the year to keep the community involved and educated, Sheppard said.
Liz Brooking of the Ferriday Community Action Alliance said block captains not only help organize residents and businesses in their designated area, "they must also be the cheerleader for the group. As we have seen in the past, Neighborhood Watch comes into an area and works fine for a while, but then interest wanes. An effective block captain should organize social events to keep everyone interacting with each other which will allow for the building of healthy, trusting relationships among the group. They should also provide training and safety programs to residents and businesses in their area."
Brooking said "failing to know and trust our neighbors is one of the biggest problems in our society today. Nowadays everyone is so busy all the time and have machines, such as phones, video games and televisions as their friends, they have never even experienced the rewards that come from human relationships. For Neighborhood Watch to work in Ferriday or anywhere else, folks must develop trusting relationships within their immediate community, especially with all law enforcement agencies."
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