Neighborhood Watch formed in Cassville
Posted By Sparta Live | September 29, 2011 12:00 am
Members of the Cassville community recently formed a Neighborhood Watch in response to several reported burglaries and other suspicious activity in the area.
Residents met at the Cassville Volunteer Fire Department’s fire hall to get assistance with forming the community action group from Detective Ruben Hormilla with White County Sheriff Department and White County Sheriff Oddie Shoupe.
Hormilla told the group a Neighborhood Watch is one of the best ways to avoid burglaries, arsons and thefts, as well as a way to provide information about crimes that might happen.
He explained many property crimes, such as burglaries, are committed after criminals ‘case out’ a potential victim’s property using a variety of means.
Most times thieves will look for a property that is isolated or is in an area where visibility is limited or where fewer witnesses would be available to observe their crimes.
Hormilla stated criminals could also simply drive by and notice newspapers or mail piling up, which tells them the homeowner is away, or they can use elaborate ploys, such as posing as meter readers or delivery men, to check out properties for potential items to steal.
Other criminals will simply look for ‘crimes of opportunity’. They will see something they believe they can easily take and act quickly to steal items before anyone notices anything suspicious.
Homeowners are cautioned to properly secure their belongings and not make it so easy for items to be taken.
He said neighbors can watch out for each other and community members can be more alert to suspicious activity near where they live.
Most community members know their neighborhoods and their neighbors, and are able to notice unfamiliar vehicles, people and activities.
Hormilla said neighborhood watches gives homeowners the upper hand by keeping in contact with those around them and letting them know when they are going to be away from home, as well as taking note of any unusual traffic in the neighborhood.
He warned that vigilante justice is not what the watches are about. Information is the key.
He stated no one should take matters into their own hands. That kind of activity creates more problems than it solves.
He said the information gathered by a neighborhood watch is what prevents and solves crimes.
Shoupe told the group information from residents helps officers close in on criminals and helps the justice system work.
Law enforcement officers can only make arrests when they can provide verifiable proof to the court system of who actually committed a crime.
He said, while the sheriff department does the best it can with the limited resources provided by county funding, officers cannot be everywhere all the time.
He hopes more residents will become involved in neighborhood watches to keep people and property safer, as well as stop crime and bring criminals to justice.
Shoupe said any community interested in forming a neighborhood watch is urged to call WCSD at (931) 836-2700 for assistance.