Neighborhood watch program seeing success

Published 12:10 am Monday, January 19, 2015

Neighborhood watch coordinator Georganna Berry and Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis showcase one of 16 Vidalia’s newly installed neighborhood watch signs on Pear Street. VPD officials say the neighborhood watch program has had great participation from area residents interested in learning more about protecting their neighborhoods. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

Neighborhood watch coordinator Georganna Berry and Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis showcase one of 16 Vidalia’s newly installed neighborhood watch signs on Pear Street. VPD officials say the neighborhood watch program has had great participation from area residents interested in learning more about protecting their neighborhoods. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

Increased participation from involved community members is helping push Vidalia Police Department’s community wide neighborhood watch program to new heights.

Each of the 16 neighborhoods participating in the watch has been assigned their own watch captain and co-captain, neighborhood watch coordinator Georganna Berry said.

Neighborhood watch signs have also been installed in all the participating neighborhoods.

“We had great participation from the neighbors and the captains were very instrumental for getting the people to come out to the meetings,” Berry said.

Because of the neighborhood watch program, the VPD are able to address certain complaints that normally would go unseen without the help of the community.

“Many of the problems were children riding on four wheelers, the buses were driving too fast and walkers roaming the streets at night,” Berry said. “We have had extra patrol to come in the neighborhoods and take care of those problems.”

Many of the neighborhoods have contributed greatly to the VPD by reporting any and all activities, Berry said.

Those who participate in the neighborhood watch program will meet quarterly at the old recreation center on Locust Street, the resource center on Fourth Street and Concordia Bank & Trust Company’s community center on Carter Street.

“We are also going to offer more education training in 2015 for our neighborhood watch,” Berry said.

The training, Vidalia Police Lieutenant Frankie Carroll said, will educate citizens on what to look for in their area.

“Say if a suspicious person is in a neighborhood, we will teach them how to identify their clothing and how to give a proper description,” Carroll said. “It’s more of educating the community on what we look for when we are out there.”

Berry said the educational training is expected to begin in April.

Vidalia Police Chief Arthur Lewis said he is excited about the neighborhood watch program.

“This program is a tool that’s going to help this program greatly,” Lewis said. “Even though we have regular patrols, we can not see everything.

“Living in the neighborhood you see and notice things that we don’t see. It’s more eyes on the street.”

Lewis said law enforcers need the help of the community in order for them to do their job sufficiently.

“I want to thank the people that participate in the program because it helps us help them, and they’re ultimately the beneficiaries of having a greater neighborhood,” Lewis said.

For more information on the neighborhood watch program and how to participate, call Berry at 318-336-5254, ext 3003 or visit the VPD’s Facebook page.