DECATUR, AL (WAFF) - The neighborhood watch program is 45 years old, and law enforcement agencies say it is one of the most effective crime prevention program in the country. Now, the Decatur Police Department is working with the community to create neighborhood watch programs after residents voiced concerns over thefts and other public safety issues.
Residents and the police chief met Wednesday night to talk about the program. It was the first meeting between Chief Nate Allen and the community about establishing, and in some cases, reviving effective neighborhood watches.
Allen said creating lines of communication with the community is a good way to prevent crime and to help investigators solve crimes. He and other officers talked with people about how to set up a neighborhood watch and how to prevent being crime victims.
City Councilwoman Kristi Hill said she talked with Allen after hearing from people in her district about concerns over property crimes and other issues, such as residential areas where drivers are speeding.
Other council members and Mayor Tab Bowling are also interested in the neighborhood watch idea.
"Originally, it was just the police chief and I talking about this, but then it's like, 'Why be so narrow-minded about it? Why not just open it up to the other council members to promote as well.' So, I'm happy they're joining with me in promoting it. There are people that are in the meeting from all of Decatur," Hill said.
She added that there will be more community meetings on neighborhood watch programs. Allen said they don't just build relationships between officers and residents, but that people become better neighbors who watch out for each other.
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