While neighborhood block watch organizations may not always be successful in preventing crimes, especially those that happen at night, they can create a general atmosphere that puts criminals on notice that the community is watching, according to Bexley police.
At Bexley City Council's Oct. 22 meeting, Euclair Avenue resident Connie Lewis asked Bexley police Chief Larry Rinehart if increasing the number of neighborhood block watches could help prevent vehicle break-ins.
Bexley has experienced a spike in the number of vehicle break-ins in recent weeks. As of Oct. 28, there were 36 reported vehicle break-ins in various parts of Bexley throughout October, compared to five reported incidents in September.
In each of the reported break-ins in October, unknown offenders broke into the vehicles by smashing out a window to steal miscellaneous items or ransacking the vehicles looking for valuables but not taking anything.
Rinehart said block watches can be helpful in preventing crime, but may not always be effective in the wee hours of the morning, when most of the vehicle break-ins occurred.
In a section of the police department's website titled "Stopping Crime: Hardening the Target," Rinehart encourages residents to form block watches and be vigilant in looking out for one another.
"You can actually create and strengthen community bonds while fighting crime and making criminals very uncomfortable in your neighborhood," Rinehart said.
For more information about block watches and how they work, email Rinehart at LRinehart@Bexley.org or call 614-559-4444.