Police say the best crime fighting programs are created by neighbors, not law enforcement.
A group of committed residents recently gathered in South Columbus to hear tips on keeping criminals from spoiling their neighborhood.
"It's just communication, just getting the word out,” explains Kevin Cameron, Vice President when asked the secret to getting people to turn out.
“We learn off of each other through these experiences that occur, to try to improve our neighborhood and try to make it safer,” says Kevin Cameron, Vice President.
The Edgewood Civic Association Block Watch in South Columbus meets regularly to talk about crime trends and other neighborhood concerns.
Their Police Liaison Officer, Scott Peck, congratulated them for calling in information recently about two suspicious-looking men lurking in a neighbor's driveway.
“If you hadn't called that night we probably would be investigating a burglary,” said Peck to the crowd.
Within minutes of an alert neighbor's call, police had a chopper overhead and a cruiser at the address.
“You didn't try to get involved physically. You knew how to make the call and the information to give. The information we needed as patrol officers to come in and do our job,” said Peck.
The suspects got away, but they didn't get into that house.
Officer Peck also passed around a crime sheet showing how effective residential surveillance cameras can be in nabbing burglars. One photo showed a suspect caught on security camera breaking into a house on the west side, the pictures ultimately led to an arrest.
“These block watchers are the eyes and ears of law enforcement. And that's what we're looking for, that good information. You know if something is off before we may see it, says Peck.
“And then give that information to them as soon as possible. And that works. It works every time,” said Ted Welch, Block Watch President.