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New Decatur County neighborhood watch program already seeing success

Decatur County Sheriff’s Office Investigator, Redell Walton implemented neighborhood watch programs months ago in some communities. Now, he is ready to enhance the programs and start them in new neighborhoods.

Before beginning the program, the community gets together to discuss if this is something they would want implemented. Although the sheriff’s office sets the program up, someone in the community is in charge of the program and getting out the information they receive.

A key factor Walton hopes to improve on in the new watch neighborhoods is having communication be a two-way street. If someone has an issue, he hopes they will contact the sheriff’s office or him directly through the watch. He encourages the communities to find a way to communicate that is effective for them. One of the neighborhoods he works with has a private Facebook group. The group is used for more than just reporting what residents may have seen, but for preventive measures as well. The administrator of the group may know about scam calls going around and tell the members to not answer a call with that area code or give out any private information to them. He may also be aware of entering auto calls and remind residents to lock their cars, because unlocked cars are being targeted.

The neighborhood watch has already been successful in one recent incident. A resident was in their Climax community when they noticed a suspicious person walking in the early morning hours. They called it in, and the police came out to the scene. The person turned out to be a wanted sex offender and tried to escape.

Walton said this happens more than one would think.

“Witnesses and people in the community can really help in major cases by just reporting what they saw,” he said.

For communities that think they may benefit from a neighborhood watch program, they can contact the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office at 229-248-3044 or contact Walton directly at 229-400-8014.