WATERTOWN — Despite an interruption because of the coronavirus, the city’s newly formed Neighborhood Watch group is doing its part to make the city safe.
With 129 people actively involved, the Neighborhood Watch group is keeping an eye on any potential suspicious activity that might be happening in neighborhoods around the city.
Former City Council candidate Patrick J. Hickey, who formed the group, said members are notifying the police department of any suspicious characters who don’t quite fit into a neighborhood to find out why they are there.
“We’re operating with the coronavirus,” he said. “It’s working. So far, so good.”
A lot of the effort revolves around calling the police when they see something that just doesn’t fit in a neighborhood, he said.
The group includes four zone leaders whose members can contact when they see something that’s out of place. Not only are there efforts in the city, but members also live in the town of Watertown, Brownville, LeRay and Pamelia.
“COVID-19 has put a damper on the in-person meetings and has hindered my ability to obtain that demographic information,” Mr. Hickey said.
The Watertown Police Department assigned Officer Shawn Ryan to help with the program.
Reestablishing the Neighborhood Watch program was one of the goals that City Council members included in their strategic plan last year.
Members have expressed a number of concerns that they’ve noticed going on in their neighborhoods and across the city. Combatting the drug epidemic, rental properties, abandoned homes, suspicious and criminal activity, and people roaming city streets at all hours are some of the issues the Neighborhood Watch group are looking at.
Re-establishing the Neighborhood Watch program was one of the goals City Council members included in their strategic plan last year.
About 20 years ago, Neighborhood Watch Groups of Watertown Inc. had 65 trained block captains and 200 volunteers and put up about 20 signs throughout the city in its heyday.