New web forum to launch for neighborhood watch groups

Communication is a key factor in fighting neighborhood crime. And communication should be improving with the launch of a new website in St. Joseph County.

It is a forum for folks on the front lines of the county's Neighborhood Watch groups, hundreds of neighborhood watch captains and police officers in the county.

Because crime waves generally migrate from neighborhood to neighborhood, subdivision to subdivision, the new tool hopes to keep everyone in neighborhood watch a step ahead of the bad guys.

If you're part of St.Joe County's Neighborhood Watch Network, you can also be part of the new Neighborhood Watch forum, a website for registered block captains and coordinators.

“It's going to be information sharing about past problems, continuing problems or maybe be on the lookout type things,” said St. Joseph County Police Lt. Regis Thimons. “If one neighborhood may not be affected yet by a certain type of crime, like a property crime, or if we're looking for a specific type vehicle then they can share that information through this forum and then everybody can be alerted that's in the forum and then they can share it with their neighborhood people who are on their watch list.”

Thimons says this will augment and enhance information sharing among the various neighborhood watch groups in the county, that already use email or more traditional methods.

“The old way was you get on the phone and you start calling your block captains and then they call, said Thimons. “Some of them still do that because not everyone has email or wants to give out their email address.”

Thimons says the forum gives anyone involved in the county's neighborhood watch quick and easy access without having to wait for an email or a phone call.

“If I authorize somebody to be on it that's interested, and I can verify who they are by whatever means. I may allow someone who doesn't have an active neighborhood watch,” said Thimons. “I'm not going to let anybody that calls and says I want to be on that list." Thimons said he doesn't want bad guys getting on the list and knowing where hieghtened watch p-rograms are in effect.

Interested watch captains, police and other law enforcement officials should contact lt. Thimons at the email address on your screen or call him at this phone number: 235-9569.

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