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Neighborhood Watch using 21st century technology

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Neighborhood watches have been sanctioned by the National Sheriff's Association for nearly 40 years.

You probably recognize the signs around town.

They began popping up in the seventies, back when neighbors knew each other because they lived in the same place for years.

Now some Valley neighborhoods are reviving the idea using 21st-century technology.

The streets around the intersection of Paul and Fruit are quiet during the day, which neighbors say has been a crook's prime time for home break-ins.

Lisa Laurence runs a Facebook page as part of her neighborhood watch program.

The social media-turned-safety tool started about a year ago. At the time, neighbors say, crime here was high.

"It seemed to be an avenue that everyone uses, no matter if someone is out of town. No matter what you're doing you can check your Facebook from your phone, so it seemed really convenient," she said.

More than 30 neighbors are Facebook friends with the neighborhood watch page.

Some have even posted pictures of suspicious people on their street.

"I receive phone calls and emails all day long," Neighborhood Watch president Roz Clark said.

Clark is the president of Fresno's Neighborhood Watch program.

Over the past six months, this volunteer leader says, requests to join the program have shot up dramatically all over the city.

"They recognize that they have to take control of their neighborhood. To make sure who is in their neighborhood," Clark said.

Fresno police have also noticed an increase in interest on the city's website.

"If you don't have one in your neighborhood we will help you start one. If you do have one, we will connect you with one," Lt. Don Gross of the Fresno Police Department said.

In order to have a successful group, Laurence says people need to communicate and stop being complacent.

"Our neighbors don't do that anymore. They travel down different streets and break away from the normal pattern," she said.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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