by Nicole Reitz
Residents of the Town of Palermo have started their own Neighborhood Watch Group.
The idea for the group began when resident Allison Ryder called the county and asked for a crime readout of her area.
She enlisted the help of Undersheriff Eugene Sullivan, who spoke at the group’s first meeting in April. Most of the 35 people in attendance have had their property stolen or their homes broken into.
Never in the history of the town has there been a Palermo Neighborhood Watch group. There used to be a grange in the town, but now with farmers becoming more scare, there aren’t as many communal meeting places to get to know people in the area.
The mission of the Neighborhood Watch Group is to prevent crime and to make it harder for criminals to cause trouble.
Recent crimes in Palermo range from bottles and cans being taken from pick up trucks to copper taken from pipes out of vacant houses.
In the same week, there were three separate incidents. One male resident came home after a short trip to the hardware store to find that he had been robbed in broad daylight.
A couple months ago, there was a break in on Island Road. The elderly couple was home when the incident happened. The wife was in her basement studio while her husband was working in the garage. The woman came upstairs to realize their television set missing.
Ryder said it was this incident that shook her most. If the couple had caught the criminal in the act, their lives could have been endangered.
“Some people say its just kids raising hell, but I don’t buy that, it doesn’t make it right,” said Ryder.
While the group wants to prevent crime from happening, it does not tell residents to confront criminals themselves. People should report suspicious activity to authorities if they see it or hear it.
After an incident occurs, police enforcement often question neighbors. Those that don’t report unusual activity create a missed opportunity for the force.
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