The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

October 11, 2012

Taking back our neighborhoods

We have lived in a time that it felt like criminals have taken over.

Citizens lock up all of their possessions and deadbolt their doors behind them.

It’s a sad way to have to exist, always wary of intruders or thieves lurking about.

Unfortunately times have gotten even worse.

The outlaws and hoodlums are much bolder now.

While they still target houses with absent owners, now crooks are entering occupied dwellings and demanding prescription pills, jewelry, cash and more.

Enough is enough.

A new time has arrived.

It’s time for law-abiding citizens to take back their communities.

We’re not advocating vigilante justice.

Instead, we’re pleased with the efforts of local law enforcement and citizens who are organizing Neighborhood Crime Watch meetings in the area.

While the police are a crucial element in the effort to crack down on crime, concerned citizens who keep a watchful eye out for each other can make a significant difference.

Working together with the authorities is key. It’s a crucial partnership that strengthens the abilities of all parties.

Law enforcement usually responds to crime activity.

But with a Watch, neighborhoods can be pro-active in eliminating crime by reporting suspicious activity or helping to identify perpetrators.

At a community organizational meeting Tuesday night in Ghent, Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner acknowledged that there is a burglary epidemic in Raleigh and Fayette counties, and added “We have lost the control of our community. We, as a community, have to take our neighborhoods back.”

 Retired and Senior Volunteer program director Barbara Caceras was at the Ghent meeting to sign up neighborhood watch volunteers and help groups assign watch captains. Anyone who wishes to sign up can contact her by phone at 304-436-6800.

There’s an opportunity for everyone to take part, in an attempt to turn back this crime wave.

There are social media resources available online, including a virtual neighborhood watch on Facebook that connects citizens of Shady Spring, Daniels, Glade Springs, Cool Ridge and Beaver.

We urge everyone to get involved in some way in these efforts.

October is also Crime Prevention Month. For more information on Neighborhood Crime Watch programs and more from the National Crime Prevention Council, visit www.ncpc.org.

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