Sunday , June 12, 2016 - 6:45 AM
In one Ogden neighborhood, people decided they’d had enough.
Enough of the burglaries.
Enough of the bicycle thefts.
Enough of the constant worry.
They’d had enough of the crime they experienced almost daily, so they did something about it — they formed the Jefferson Avenue Neighborhood Watch.
They set an example for the rest of us.
Early this year, in an area stretching from 24th to 28th and Adams to Madison, criminals decided to take anything they wanted. They broke into cars. They stole bicycles. They burglarized unlocked homes and garages.
Police responded to 54 calls in the neighborhood between Jan. 1 and May 31, 2015. During the same five months this year, the number of calls jumped to 71 — a 31 percent increase.
People decided to take their neighborhood back; they reached out to police and organized a neighborhood watch.
It’s already working, said Ogden Police Lt. Kevin Cottrell.
Police served a search warrant at an apartment a week ago and arrested five people, Cottrell told Loretta Park, a reporter for the Standard-Examiner. Authorities believe they’re all involved in the neighborhood’s crime spike.
Using mobile cameras, police got “a good photo of a guy committing a bike theft,” Cottrell said, “and now we’re looking for him.” Police also conducted a bicycle sting and arrested a suspect who took the bait.
Every arrest helps reduce crime in the Jefferson Avenue area, but none of it would’ve happened if neighbors hadn’t started acting as a community. Their Jefferson Avenue Neighborhood Watch Facebook page, a closed group, lists 77 members — that’s 77 people committed to defending their part of Ogden.
“They look out for one another,” Cottrell said. “If they see something suspicious they are willing to call their neighbor to find out if they’re OK or call the police.”
Granted, standing up for yourself and your neighbors takes courage, but it’s better than living in a state of siege.
We’re stronger and safer when we look out for one another. The Jefferson Avenue Neighborhood Watch proves it.
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