The Canal Winchester Times

Organizers hope block watch will unify community

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Blacklick Estates residents Marisa Kenny and Penny Smith told Madison Township trustees last week they hope a new block watch group will build momentum for improved community safety.

The new block watch group boasts 764 members, according to Smith, with nearly 100 of them attending the first two meetings held over the past month.

"Initially, we decided to begin the block watch group because of burglaries and other crimes in the neighborhood," Smith said at the June 18 trustees' meeting. "But our second concern is really just to unite neighbors. So many of us have lived here a very long time but still don't know each other all that well."

Trustee Gary McDonald said he was impressed by everyone's enthusiasm.

"I was invited to the first two meetings and they had a good group of people with everybody excited," he said. "They asked all types of questions, including about crime, and residents drilled me on questions ranging from water issues to vendor permits.

"This group wants to be active and is picking up where the last group dropped off," McDonald said. "This will be the eyes and ears for the police and township."

Smith said the group does not have any intention of playing an enforcement role, but members hope that by providing frequent, useful information to law enforcement, they can make a lasting difference in the community.

"We understand we're not police or any kind of enforcement," Smith said. "What we are asking for, though, is installing cautionary signs like 'block watch' signs and 'slow' signs to slow traffic.

"We'd like to host a community day later this year, with positive contact with the police and fire departments and residents, especially making good contact with our teens," she added.

The next block watch meeting will focus on learning how to obtain a good description of potential suspects, and how to contact police or other officials.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m., Wednesday, July 9, at Asbury South United Methodist Church, 4760 Winchester Pike.

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