LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Lafayette Police said neighborhood watch groups are not a thing of the past, but they do take neighborhoods back to an old fashioned idea.
"It strengthens neighborhoods," Lieutenant Jim Taul said. "It returns neighborhoods to the old fashioned ways of where neighbors took care of neighbors and communicated with the police."
Taul said about two dozen watch groups call Lafayette home. He said several strong ones are in the Columbian Park neighborhoods.
Members keep police informed about suspicious activity in the area.
"It's a wonderful tool to make citizens in neighborhoods feel safer, and it puts would be criminals on alert," Taul said.
Taul said if you want to start a group in your neighborhood get police involved. First, you need to knock on peoples' doors and get an idea of who wants to join. Then, organize meetings about once every three months.
Taul said once police are aware the group is forming they will put a free neighborhood watch sign in the neighborhood.
"They let us know they're wanting to start a neighborhood crime watch," Taul said. "We'll go out and facilitate them in getting the right steps to make that happen."
The neighborhood watch idea has taken a 21st century twist. Taul also recommends the use of nextdoor.com.
The website will put you in a group depending on your address. Then, you can talk virtually with neighbors about neighborhood happenings.
"I can't see what is going on in those neighborhoods," Taul said. "It's for the neighborhood people and the leaders to communicate with one another. If there is a lost pet or a lost bicycle they can post on nextdoor.com."
Police said vigilant neighbors, like those in the Columbian Park neighborhoods, can help keep everyone safe.
The Tippecanoe County Prosecutor's Office also has a program called Project Safe Neighborhoods. You can call its hotline 1-800-78-CRIME to report suspicious activity.
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