Written by Betsy Abraham Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
Everyone wants to know that their neighborhood is safe. But an omnipresent police force is impossible and extensive home security can be expensive. So the watchful eye of a neighbor can come in handy.
Now in its second year, the Westbury Neighborhood Watch is a small group of residents who stick to the phrase “see something, say something.” Director Jacquelyn McCullough says that the group, comprised mostly of seniors, keeps an eye out for suspicious behavior and looks out for their neighbors. She encourages them to report any odd behavior to her, so she can relay it to the appropriate authorities.
Members doesn’t drive around late at night, patrolling for crime. However, they do make an effort to protect their neighborhood by doing little things. If they see a neighbor’s papers or mail piling up, they’ll bring it in, so potential robbers won’t be alerted to an empty house. If they notice someone suspicious outside of a home or vehicle, they will alert McCullough or the homeowner.
McCullough remembers an incident from last summer, where one house on the neighborhood was playing loud music from 9 p.m. until 3 in the morning.
“I was on the phone every hour calling it in to the police,” McCullough said. “Quality of life is an issue and seniors who are trying to sleep shouldn’t have to bear with noise.”
The Neighborhood Watch also serves to help the community get closer.
“We don’t know our neighbors anymore like we used to. This is what supports neighborhood watch, because communities, like people, grow old and they move and they change,” McCullough said. “It’s all about community, understanding and knowledge. You can learn more from each other.”
And while right now the group only consists of a couple of blocks of residents in the Village of Westbury, McCullough is hoping that number will soon grow and expand to neighboring communities. She also hopes to increase cooperation among the community, village and police department.
“We want to grow and get more people involved. We’d like to start writing grants and support the youth in the community and bring in programs and partnerships,” McCullough said.
McCullough, who has received professional training in protecting the community, will be giving a presentation at the Westbury Public Library on Tuesday, June 18 at 7 p.m. She will be discussing child safety, as well as crime prevention and emergency preparedness. For more information and to get involved, contact mywestburywatch.org.