Parish neighborhood watch program expands
LAKE ST. JOHN — A combination of involved neighborhood residents and a strong police presence is how Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Jamie Lipscomb said every local community should operate.
So after seeing the residents of Monterey positively respond to a revitalized neighborhood watch program in their area, it was only a matter of time before Lipscomb began expanding the program into other areas of the parish.
The next stop for the CPSO, Lipscomb said, is Lake St. John, where local residents who want to help keep their neighborhoods crime free are encouraged to participate.
“The foundation of the neighborhood watch program is to bring people back together where everyone is watching out for everyone in their area and making sure they know we’re only a phone call away,” Lipscomb said. “Our goal is to reach the entire parish and just get people involved with their community.”
Meetings are hosted every three months, and items discussed range from burglary and crime awareness to holiday shopping tips.
“We cover a wide range of things, but the main thing is whatever is going to keep residents safe,” Lipscomb said. “A lot of this stuff is human nature, but there is a correct way to applying it that we can talk about.”
Apart from educating the residents on how to prevent criminal activity, Lipscomb said he also stresses the importance of what to do if and when those situations arise.
“Another big thing is to teach people how to report crimes — what they can tell the dispatcher that will help us with our investigation,” Lipscomb said. “We want people to know that the sheriff’s office is here for them, and that they can report any problem or situation.”
Sheriff Kenneth Hedrick said the neighborhood watch programs are just the start of many more things parish residents can soon expect from the sheriff’s office.
“The neighborhood watch program is the foundation of many programs to come such as programs with the youth, self defense and other community activities,” Hedrick said. “We’re here to protect and serve the people of Concordia Parish, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The first meeting for the Lake St. John Neighborhood Watch program will be at 6 p.m. Monday at the Lake St. John Community Center.