Martin shooting puts neighborhood watch programs in spotlight - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Martin shooting puts neighborhood watch programs in spotlight

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The shooting death of Treyvon Martin in Florida is a tragedy under a set of circumstances never seen before, and it's raising concern in Las Vegas.

"To connect the name of Neighborhood Watch to it I think kind of heightened the interest because Neighborhood Watch is such a well-known, validated program," says Crime Prevention Specialist Kathy Perkins.

Perkins has been with Metro police for almost three decades and currently oversees 600 Neighborhood Watch programs in Northwest Las Vegas.

Perkins says the Florida shooter's actions, a Neighborhood Watch volunteer, are never something taught to Las Vegas communities, "The key to neighborhood watch is observing, reporting."

"We try to get people to avoid any kind of physical or verbal confrontation and especially not start a physical or verbal confrontation," she adds.

Lucy Baines is a Neighborhood Watch block captain in the community of Meister Park.  Her neighborhood was provided an initial training session with Metro police and officers now provide regular visits.

"This is the main thing, we are not vigilantes, we are watch, we are eyes," says Baines.

"They follow the rules. If they hear anything, see anything, they know they're supposed to write down any information that would be helpful to the police department," she adds.

As a retirement community they've dealt with several recent home and car break-ins. They say a good set of eyes and smart decisions are what's needed to reduce crime, not confrontations. 

"I don't think anything like that will ever happen because we are known and we are taught to be very cautions of approaching people," Baines said.

If you're interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch program you're asked to contact your local police precinct. Those in Las Vegas can be found here

To keep track of crime in your area you can sign up for AlertID.

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