Rolla police seeking up to 20 neighborhoods to participate in neighborhood watch program
Rolla Police Chief Sean Fagan updated the Rolla City Council Monday on the department looking to re-establish the city neighborhood watch program.
“Neighborhood watch has always been big in Rolla for many, many years. And then sometime around in the 1990s, it fell off,” Fagan said.
According to Fagan, volunteers ended up moving, people ended up quitting, so the program was suspended, but the department is actively trying to get the program going again.
The neighborhood watch is a partnership between a neighborhood and the police department to open up a dialogue. The citizen-involvement program encourages citizens to protect their own neighborhoods by watching out for each other and reporting any suspicious activity.
“If a particular neighborhood wants to do a neighborhood watch program and that could be simply one block or several blocks, we ask that they contact the Rolla Police Department and let us know that they are interested in it,” Fagan said.
The department will provide individuals with kits that they have purchased with absolutely everything in it that they would need for a neighborhood watch, including signs, that will be put up on their block to let people know that there's a neighborhood watch program going on in a certain neighborhood.
“It's a very effective program,” Fagan said.
Fagan noted that the kits cost $50, and the department has purchased 20 of them to have 20 neighborhood watch programs.
“There are some man-hours involved in it with our police department, putting this together, but the man-hours that we spent, putting this together, are a lot less than the crimes that these neighborhood watches will prevent from having us investigate,” Fagan said.
One of the things Fagan said he hears all of the time from residents is they are apprehensive about reporting suspicious activity, which he hopes the program will assist in helping.
“If you see something, we want you to call us. You're not bothering us; that's our job. That's what we're here for,” Fagan said. “A neighborhood watch is neighbors looking out for their other neighbors and communicating with us when they see something that doesn't belong.”
A couple of city council members have already taken packets and will have a meeting for their districts to announce the neighborhood watch program in the hopes more people will get involved.
Fagan said the neighborhood watch includes a captain responsible for running the program and other neighbors who would like to become involved.
“Now it could be to the point where the people are walking around the neighborhood looking for something, or they're just watching,” Fagan said. “If you see something, you know who lives in your neighborhood and who doesn’t.”
And once word gets out that there's an active neighborhood watch program, Fagan said problems significantly reduce.
Individuals interested in the program should reach out to the department at 573-308-1213.
“We will meet with you, and we will discuss with you how it works,” Fagan said. “Everything's pretty self-explanatory in this packet; there's a lot of booklets, and they show you how to do it, so this is something that we really like to get going again.”
Along with the program, Fagan said the department is registering home cameras.
“That way, if something happens in your neighborhood, we may reach out to you and say, hey, can you look at our camera on this time in this date, see if they come up with anything, and if they do, they’ll let us know,” Fagan said.