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MPD talks watch groups with residents

November 27, 2012
By Deb Gau , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - The number of burglaries being reported in Marshall has dropped in the past month, but members of Marshall law enforcement and local residents say they're hoping to keep up a watch.

The Marshall Police Department held a meeting Monday night to discuss options for residents who would like to organize neighborhood watch groups. Public Safety Director Rob Yant and Detective Joe Krogman also gave some updates on the investigation process in a rash of burglaries reported this fall.

"The number of burglaries has gone down drastically over the last month or so," Krogman said. There were fewer than 10 burglaries reported in Marshall in November, compared to a large spike reported in September and October.

Krogman said there was most likely a combination of factors that led to the drop in burglaries, including increased police patrols, greater public awareness and more reports of suspicious activity. The onset of colder winter weather can even have an effect on the number of burglary incidents, he said.

Krogman said there have not been any arrests made in the most recent wave of burglaries. However, he said there have been some search warrants executed, and investigations are ongoing.

"We do have some items at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, being reviewed," Krogman said, although it may take some time for the BCA to process the items.

Yant said it was important that residents stay vigilant and take precautions against burglary. Neighborhood watch groups, he said, "could be a framework to address some of that."

There was a smaller group of people at Monday's meeting than there were at informational meetings earlier this month. About a dozen Marshall residents learned about possible options for forming neighborhood groups and posting neighborhood watch signs.

Yant said there were two different neighborhoods who had expressed an interest in forming a watch group. Getting to know the neighbors, communicating with them and staying active were all key elements in making a watch group work, he said. Some possibilities for watch group activities include holding events that bring neighbors together, helping each other do home security surveys, or having "block captains" to help coordinate efforts in the neighborhood.

Social media is another platform residents could use to communicate with their neighbors. Lisa Macchio, a resident in the Viking Drive area, told the audience she had started a Facebook group for people in that neighborhood.

"I just sort of pinpointed people in my neighborhood that I was friends with already," Macchio said, but the concept could be used to make wider groups.

Members of the Facebook group can share information, like upcoming meetings, as well as alerting each other of possible suspicious activity in the neighborhood, Macchio said. Law enforcement members said it was a good idea, although when using social media, residents should still be careful not to give out sensitive information like when they will be out of town.

During the meeting, residents from different areas of Marshall said they were in favor of posting signs once neighborhood watch groups were established, and gave feedback on the type of signs they wanted.

Yant said another meeting would be held to help organize neighborhood watch groups after the holidays, with a tentative date during the second weekend of January. Residents are encouraged to e-mail with questions, Yant said.



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