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Adams Neighborhood Watch program sees increased productivity

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ADAMS — It may be somewhat slow, but the organizer of the village’s Neighborhood Watch said she is seeing progress since the group’s launch in May, as residents become more aware of the resources available to them.

“We’re all neighbors and we’re all looking out for each other,” said Jenny L. Watkins, the group’s leader. “So it’s just about taking the steps to lock your car and your house so you don’t become a victim.”

The group in the past few months has undertaken a large mapping effort to identify residents and their contact information. Mrs. Watkins said the plan is to establish block captains who could represent groups of 20 homes and report suspicious activity in their small areas. She estimated the mapping work could be finished by the spring.

The group also has placed 12 signs around the village identifying the Neighborhood Watch, with eight of them being paid for through donations of more than $600 from local residents and businesses. The rest were paid for with village funds.

Mrs. Watkins said tips from watch members have helped attract law enforcement to suspicious activities, such as possible drug deals.

However, she said, the group still has more work to do. Mrs. Watkins said she was told that a home in the village along Route 11 had been broken into recently during the day, but local law enforcement had not received any calls about it.

Ronald E. Gatch, a member of the Adams Police Department who aids the group, said Monday afternoon the biggest achievement he felt the watch had achieved was informing residents to report suspicious activities in a prompt manner and which law enforcement they should contact for cases requiring immediate action.

In the past, he said, many residents would take their time to report incidents, before calling and leaving a phone message with the village’s part-time department. In the time it would take for department members to get to the message, he said, the information in many cases could not be used. Mr. Gatch said the receiving of timely information was an issue that affected all departments. “The quicker they can get that out, the easier for us to investigate, no matter how big or small the incident can be,” he said.

Mrs. Watkins said the date of its next meeting had not been determined, and future meetings may be spaced out to one every few months.

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