Neighborhood Watch program forms in East Pembroke
Crime isn't out of control in East Pembroke, but the idea of a neighborhood watch program in the hamlet is to make sure things don't get worse, said Amber Winters, one of the group's organizers.
There is crime in every neighborhood, she said, and East Pembroke isn't unique.
"It’s a pretty normal rate of crime here but that doesn’t mean we have to be OK with it," she said.
More than 150 people have joined a Facebook neighborhood watch group. The group has joined National Neighborhood Watch, a division of the National Sheriffs' Association, and is planning a meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. at the elementary school April 19.
The Sheriff's Office is fully supportive and will participate in the meeting, said Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.
"Years ago we used to have several neighborhood watch groups in the county and they kind of died off," Dibble said. "We're very interested in neighborhoods that want to start these up.
"We’re excited to see what we can do to give this group what it needs," Dibble said.
The main purpose of neighborhood watch group is just to help neighbors get to know each other better, which helps residents identify things that are out of the ordinary.
"There are more rental properties now and people are coming in and we're looking at a lot of new faces all of the time," Winters said. "We just don't know anybody anymore and we want to connect all of the new families and the faces and the houses who don't know each other so we get to know each other."
One impetus for the group was the assault at the Arrow Mart a couple of months ago. Some community members thought, Winters said, that maybe they should do something before crime does become a serious problem in the hamlet.
"With all the car break-ins, people attacked in their homes, the assault at the Arrow Mart, we were feeling more frustrated," she said.
At the meeting on the 19th, people will be able to meet each other, but the Sheriff's Office will also be on hand to let the community know what it has available to help the group.
"We just don’t know our neighbors like we did back in the day," Dibble said. "It’s the truth. We know that."
East Pembroke residents are looking for a chance to change that.