WATERTOWN — A few signs still stand in city neighborhoods where its residents once kept an eye out for suspicious activity.
And now there’s talk about bringing back the city’s Neighborhood Watch program, which was once recognized by the governor’s office for its success in organizing block captains to coordinate activities within the city.
Reestablishing the Neighborhood Watch program is one of the City Council’s items that it is including in its strategic plan it has been working on for months.
Two years ago, Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero campaigned on the issue and lobbied city staff to get the Neighborhood Watch program back off the ground.
“It’s more ears and eyes to help police do their jobs,” she said. “They would keep neighborhoods safe.”
Police Chief Charles P. “Chip” Donoghue has been researching how to re-implement the program. He already has an officer interested in overseeing it.
About five people have approached her about getting involved, Councilwoman Ruggiero said.
City Manager Rick Finn said the city is still looking at how to go about organizing a Neighborhood Watch program in the city.
“We’re still in the very beginning stages putting this together,” he said, adding it will take about four to six months to get it started.
The city is looking at starting the program in one neighborhood, seeing how it goes and adding others later, he said.
He figured it would take getting between four and eight people involved for it to work, he said. Participants would be trained.
About 20 years ago, Neighborhood Watch Groups of Watertown Inc. 65 trained block captains and 200 volunteers and put up about 20 signs throughout the city in its heyday.
After several years of being active, the organization fizzled and soon disappeared.