According to Talladega Police Lt. Patrick Thornton, the larger group assembled at the B.N. Mabra Center should be broken up into geographical groups of four or so. Those four would all report to a captain, and all the captains would report to a leader for the entire group. The group leader would be the community liaison to the police department.
Thornton pointed out that this does not mean people cannot contact the police on their own, especially if they believe they are witnessing a crime. The purpose of the watch is to get usable information from victims and witnesses who will talk to a neighbor far more readily than they would talk to the police.
Thornton also pointed out that arrests for even relatively minor crimes can have a significant impact on communities. The number of burglaries around town, for instance, has dropped significantly of late because one person was arrested for more than $4,000 in unpaid fines. Although this person has not been charged with burglary, his incarceration has coincided with a significant drop in burglaries.
Two more people are also wanted for similar counts, with what Thornton predicted would be similar results.
As an officer, Thornton said that he could not profile individuals on the street, but people who lived in these neighborhoods knew who their neighbors were and would likely recognize someone who had no business being in the area.
The West Side Neighborhood Watch meets on the third Tuesday of each month at the B.N. Mabra Center starting at 6 p.m.
Contact Chris Norwood at firstname.lastname@example.org