NEW ALLEN — Fed up with spates of crime in their neighborhood, residents of New Allen are taking to the streets to keep an eye on their community.
A newly formed neighborhood watch group organized last month. The group will hold its second meeting to elect officers Tuesday, Aug. 6, at the Allen Volunteer Fire Department.
Damon Gayheart, a sergeant with Kentucky State Police who lives in the neighborhood, has spearheaded the move. He says despite some bad press for such groups, the New Allen neighborhood watch is not a vigilante group. He says members of the watch are instructed to simply observe and report suspicious behavior.
“They are just there to serve as the eyes and ears for the police,” Gayheart said.
Signs informing visitors of the watch have been posted in the neighborhood, and volunteers on patrol affix “neighborhood watch” magnets and yellow flashing lights to their cars, to serve as a “highly visible” deterrent to would-be criminals.
Gayheart believes the watch is working. He said patrols noticed two men repeatedly walking through the neighborhood and became concerned they might be casing houses for future burglaries. However, once the patrols started, the men stopped coming and haven’t been back.
Gayheart said 17 people attended the first meeting, and more called afterwards, expressing an interest in getting involved. He said he has been pleasantly surprised by the response.
“I’m just tickled to death,” Gayheart said. “I honestly didn’t think it would be this easy, so far.”