After deciding to revisit the bringing back of a Neighborhood Watch Program in the city of Russellville, the police department now needs community input to see if such a program would be wanted by the citizens before starting one up.
The police began talks about revitalizing the Neighborhood Watch Program three months ago, however, first they felt they needed to find out if there were enough interest by citizens to do so. The city once had a Watch Program several years ago and there are still signs around town from the once supported initiative.
A Neighborhood Watch is a program of systematic local vigilance by residents of a neighborhood to discourage crime. The Watch, if one was brought back, would be organized and implemented in conjunction with the Russellville City Police Department. Meetings would be held with interested citizens and plans would be put in place to deter crime.
But first the department needs to know if the citizens want it. As of Friday, May 10 a citizen survey will appear on the city’s website at www.russellvilleky.org, which citizens can fill out to show their opinions on the program. This is a program that will not work if the citizens are not on board, and their input is very important, says police chief Victor Shifflett.
The resurrection of the program has been talked about for a couple of years now, said the chief.
“It may not be as full blown as it was in the 90s, but I think it will stir some interest back up,” said Russellville Mayor Mark Stratton. “Sometimes you need stuff like this revitalization just to get people’s awareness back.” Stratton added that the program is not intended for meddling into other people’s business, but just for keeping an eye on others and their property.
Shifflett has previously said it would probably be beneficial to follow the program Bowling Green uses, because it has been awhile since the city of Russellville has had anything to do with theirs.
“It’s a pretty standard program, but if you don’t have a lot of interest in the neighborhoods, its probably not going to be worthwhile doing,” said Shifflett.
The program gets the police back into contact with the community on more of a personal basis. A lot of people in the neighborhoods don’t have any contact with the police unless they see them ride around the square, or if they are involved in a wreck.
“We have very little contact with the majority of the citizens and this will put us back in contact with the regular public, plus it builds that relationship back up, which is always good for us. It kind of gets people back into the thinking that if something doesn’t seem right, they need to give us a call. It doesn’t hurt, you never know,” said Shifflett.
In the meetings that would be held for the Watch Program, citizens would be given effective crime prevention tips. These would be reminders and common sense information.
“When you’re not a victim of crime you don’t think about it and let your guard down, and that’s when something happens. This would be a reminder to everyone to be diligent in what goes on in their respective neighborhoods,” Shifflett said.
If you are interested in the formation of a Neighborhood Watch Program in the City of Russellville, please fill out the survey and let your voice be heard. Your voice will be the determining factor if such a program comes about again.