Vidalia police to start community watch

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2011

VIDALIA — The Vidalia Police Department is taking steps to make the city safer by implementing a community watch program available for all residents.

A meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 3 at Vidalia City Hall for all residents interested in participating in the watch program.

“We want people to come together so we have can get some ideas on how to start the program,” VPD Chief Arthur Lewis said. “We hope all of the public can come out.”

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Lewis said patrolling Vidalia neighborhoods at higher levels can help crack down on crime in the area.

“We are trying to get people together so they can be on the watch for suspicious activity,” he said. “We just want to help better secure the neighborhoods.”

VPD officer Renda Singleton is in charge of the program and said the March 3 meeting is just the first step of many to help get the community watch started.

“We are trying to get each neighborhood to pick who they want to watch their neighborhood,” she said. “This person will be the one who gets their neighborhood’s problems and reports them to the VPD.”

Singleton said the program is also going to try and pair one officer with each neighborhood.

“We want the officers and the neighborhoods to get to know each other better,” she said. “We will also have a system in place where we may rotate the officers after a certain amount of time.”

Singleton said there has never been a community watch program in Vidalia, and the decision to start one has been in the works for a while.

“We want people to be more comfortable when they call the police,” he said. “We want people to know they aren’t bothering us when they call.”

The creation of the community watch program will create a faster response time to crimes once the system gets fully operational, Singleton said.

“This is going to be very important to the citizens,” she said. “We are hoping that along with making citizens safer, we can also help drop the crime rates in the process.”

Singleton said the VPD needs all the support they can get March 3, and she hopes residents understand how much the watch program will help Vidalia before making their decision to attend.