ACSO to begin revitalization of Neighborhood Watch program

Published 12:13 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

NATCHEZ — In the next month, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office will begin an effort to expand and revitalize the Neighborhood Watch program throughout the county.

Newly appointed Neighborhood Watch coordinator Karren Ewing said the sheriff’s office wants to build the program from the ground up with the new administration.

“Basically, we had really internally pretty much lost sight of it,” she said. “We didn’t feel a part of it. There was a time way back when it was a lot of fun, and we could get to know the community and we all went back to the Neighborhood Watch — we want to start over.”

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The push will likely start out with a large meeting in each of the county’s five supervisor districts, and Ewing has appealed to each of the county supervisors to reach out to members of their districts to find the best place they can meet for the initial large gathering.

“Some of the neighborhoods may want to branch off on their own after that, but at least we can gather everyone together and get their input on what they would like,” she said. “We don’t want to shut out anyone.”

In other places, a Watch program may be established for the first time or the first time in a while, Ewing said.

“There are a lot of communities that did not have it anymore, places that have not had a Neighborhood Watch in years. Even though they are more rural, we need to get those people excited about it,” she said.

“I have two residences, and neither one of those areas have a Neighborhood Watch. A lot of people have asked why that is, and I have had to say, ‘I don’t know why you don’t have it.’”

Ewing said her goal for the revamped program is to get more young people involved as well.

“In time, we want to be able to bring that in, because kids see a lot that a lot of adults don’t see, and when they see it is a good thing, reporting what they see, that will take off,” she said.

The revitalized program will also be able to help communicate information — such as where registered sex offenders are located — to those who might not know how to use technology, Ewing said.

“Sometimes I think we rely too much on telling the older folks about the websites,” she said. “There are some people who don’t know how to do that or don’t have access to it.”

Ewing said the ultimate goal is to make Neighborhood Watch accessible to all again, but also fun.

“We have a lot of high hopes for it,” she said.