People living in southern Delaware County say enough is enough, and they’re taking a stand against crime.
Three separate neighborhoods want criminals to know they’re fighting back by starting block watch groups.
The new block watches are along Hardin Lane, Bean Oller Road and the Shores subdivision, near South Old State and Lewis Center roads.
Delaware County Sheriff Russ Martin’s office says the sheriff believes strongly in these block watches, because with improved communications, they can all work together better to fight crimes and keep their communities safer.
“We want people to be a great witness, and we talk to home owners associations and block watches and tell them – if they see something, call us,” said Sheriff Martin.
One woman, who asked not to be identified, told CrimeTracker 10’s Angela An that she believes the proximity of the homes along Bean Oller Road makes them an easy target.
“We were probably a little naïve about how safe we were,” said the woman, who was a victim of a break-in several years ago. “I was surprised a lot of crime does happen during the day. It’s a great time for people to come by and scope out your property, come by when no one is home and during the day when people assume things are normal.”
The incident at her house led her to form a block watch and learn how to secure her home.
Many of her neighbors’ homes are separated by acres of land and heavy trees.
Still, the woman says that’s why a block watch is needed so people make the time to know each other better.
“Get a little more sense of someone is always watching your neighborhood, who should be there, what your cars look like. We don't have that quite but it's what we are working on now,” she says.
Each of the new block watch areas reported anywhere between two and three dozen crimes so far this year. The crimes include everything from car break-ins to vandalism.
The Sheriff says every set of eyes counts.
“We think the most important thing is to be a good witness,” said Martin.
“Get good information, license plates. Today, with cell phones, we love to see people take pictures, do video, but more importantly, we're looking for good witnesses that are calling us real time when something suspicious is going on,” Martin said.
Block watch organizers say creating a new sense of community is a great way for her to channel emotions as far as her home being violated.
And she’s learning how to make her home as anonymous as possible.
“Go outside your home and think about if you were to come up and gather information about who lives there what kind of stuff do they have, when are they home and when they're not,” the woman said. “Try to think of yourself as a criminal, and that helps identify some things that you can do (to protect yourself),” says the woman. “You want to make your property unattractive, difficult, too much work for them to bother with.”
She said that keeping valuables like iPads and purses out of sight are good tips to remember.
Sheriff Martin says Delaware County actually started six new block watches since the start of 2013.
“For us to be effective, we have to partner with our community and I think as responsible residents and homeowners, they want to work with local law enforcement in making their community safer,” Martin said.
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