Newton Falls forming neighborhood watches
NEWTON FALLS — With concerns by residents to address some crime in their neighborhoods, village officials and the police department are working to form neighborhood watch groups in the village’s four wards.
Police Chief Gene Fixler said while the community has had neighborhood watches in the past, these will be new groups, one for each ward of the village. Residents who see anything suspicious or that doesn’t look right in their neighborhood should call the police department or 911, he said.
“People have always been very good about calling in to our police tip line or when they see things happening, they call the police, and that is what we really want,” Fixler said. “We don’t mind going out on a call that turns out to be nothing. There may be one call that does turn out to be something that helps someone.
“We can have groups of people from different neighborhoods getting together to discuss what is happening in their neighborhood.”
Councilman-at-Large Tarry Alberini said some residents approached him about forming neighborhood watches after noticing suspicious activity.
“It’s a great idea. We need to watch out for each other. I am excited about this for more safety for the residents of the community,” he said.
Plans are to have the neighborhood watches in place by August before the new school year starts.
Resident Joshua Coe of the Third Ward said, “It takes a community to make the whole thing work out. One person may see something and calls it in and helps someone. We want to have as many people as we can to make it work.”
Mayor Ken Kline said at a recent meeting he wants to address any drug-related issues in the community.
Fixler said with a drug issue, the police have to establish a case and not violate anyone’s civil rights.
“I wish it was as easy as what is on TV of going in getting the people and the case is closed, but it is not like that. It takes a little longer,” Fixler said.
The chief said the police have a dog in training to be a drug search dog.
Resident Loretta Coe of the Third Ward said, “There is not a lot of crime, but I have seen some drug addicts walking around, which is a concern. We need to keep an eye on things to make sure everyone is safe.”
Resident John Ruscoe of the First Ward said he and others have young children and they want them to be safe.
“Sometimes we see a suspicious person with a big backpack and just wonder what might be going on,” he said.
Third Ward Councilman Lyle Waddell said village officials and police will hold a meeting this summer for interested residents about how the neighborhood watches will operate and setting up one in each ward.
The chief also urges residents not to leave parked cars unlocked: “It is a crime of opportunity. If you lock your car, someone won’t be able to go through it and take things. People are looking for spare change and cigarettes,” Fixler said.