Citizens Work to Prevent Crime in their Neighborhoods

BATESVILLE, AR -- The citizens of Independence County are taking a stand against the criminal element.  More and more communities in the county are forming neighborhood watch programs.

"We like our neighborhood.  We like to go out at night and not feel threatened," said Pauline Sturch.

The Sturch family is one of many who are a part of a new neighborhood watch program.

"They don't want to see their houses getting broken into.  They don't want to see drug dealers dealing drugs in their area," said Captain Bill Lindsey.

"We probably have, at most, three people to take care of the city and the county," said Sheriff Keith Bowers.

As we told you during our community spotlight on Independence County, Batesville doesn't have its own police department.

"We don't have people who can be everywhere at every time so we need people who can give us information," said Lindsey.

In the week that the new neighborhood watch program has been in effect, tips have already started to come in.

"The people in this neighborhood have strange cars going to and from a residence they are concerned they think there's probably drug activity," said Lindsey.

"We're concerned about the traffic that comes through here.  We have a lot of children and there's a lot of activity.  It's not legal activity," said Sturch.

About a year ago the Independence County Sheriff's Department received a grant from the Homeland Security Department.  That grant allowed them to purchase the neighborhood watch signs.

"Every time I see that sign I know that's another citizen that's helping themselves and helping us too," said Bowes.

Sheriff Bowers hopes eventually the neighborhood watch program will be county wide.

For information on how your neighborhood can be involved in a neighborhood watch contact your local police department.

For information on the neighborhood watch program in Independence County you can contact them at 870-793-8838.