Neighborhood watch needs involvement

Published 12:07 am Saturday, June 25, 2011

FERRIDAY — Since January, community and church leaders in Ferriday have been on an uphill journey trying to establish a Neighborhood Watch program within the town limits with very little luck.

Doty Road Church of God Pastor and Ferriday Neighborhood Watch leader the Rev. Simeon Green said there still isn’t enough participation from area residents to have a successful watch.

Green and a group of other area pastors and leaders met at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Ferriday Friday to discuss ways to get more involvement from the community and when they were going to launch the program for the public.

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“Our main objective is to bring before the citizens of Ferriday a plan of how we can work together to have a neighborhood watch,” he said.

Green and the group scheduled a community meeting for 6 p.m. July 20 at the Arcade Theater to inform Ferriday residents on how the system will work, but before that can happen Green said the group has to find ways to get more people involved in the system.

“Hopefully in the next 30 days we can go public to let everyone know the meaning behind the watch, and what we want to accomplish from it,” he said. “We want people to know how they can help, we just need some more community involvement.”

Ferriday resident Liz Brooking said people in Ferriday need to realize they are responsible for their own protection in order to help out with the program.

“If people don’t get involved it won’t be effective,” she said. “We only have so many police, and if we can’t get people to care about their own safety, we have a problem.”

Brooking said the Neighborhood Watch group would need to get residents from every part of the 1.8 square mile area of Ferriday that would be protected by the watch.

Brooking said one idea to help raise participation is to have pastors from each one of the approximate 30 churches in Ferriday work with their congregations to urge participation.

“Each church can form a committee to make sure that things get done in each membership,” she said.

Brooking also suggested that Bobby Sheppard from the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office come in to explain to everyone how Neighborhood Watch works, because he is in charge of the program for the parish.

Area pastor the Rev. Everette Schiele also suggested that traveling around Ferriday and talking with residents individually would also be a good way to help get more involvement from the community.

“We need to have more of a closer contact with residents,” he said. “We need to familiarize ourselves so they can get more accustom to seeing us.”

Generating more youth involvement was also an area of concern, and the group discussed possible solutions to that problem as well.

“We need to find a way to get to the youth either through schools or through church or home,” Green said.

Green said he hopes to have more community involvement before the July meeting, because he wants to know everyone one in Ferriday’s opinion of what needs to be changed.

“We want to hear from the audience at our meeting,” he said. “We want to spark some interest in the community.”

Concordia Parish Economic and Industrial Development District Executive Director Heather Malone said educating the public is the best way to make sure the program takes off and is a success.

“This group has done a lot of background work and had many discussions about having this program in Ferriday,” she said. “I think it is time to get the ball rolling on this.”

Green said the Neighborhood Watch group will be going throughout the community passing out fliers and informing Ferriday residents about the upcoming meeting and why they need to get involved.