Crime has gone up and Neighborhood Watch programs are scarce

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Ernestine Nichols has lived at Pinewood Park Apartments for 30 years.

Nichols, a former Neighborhood Watch leader said, "If I pay to live somewhere, I want it to be alright because see I don't want to lay down scared."

Neither does Ruby Scott.

"It would make all us feel good to know someone's checking on us and watching because its so much going on," said Scott.

There is not a lot of crime in her area, but she is not willing to let her guard down.

Scott said, "It needs to be patrolled."

However, her neighbor thinks they are fine without the program.

"We watch out for her and she watches out for us and everybody in the neighborhood gets along fine.  It gets a little rowdy down there, but we don't bother them and they don't bother us," Willie Murphy said.

Capt. James Galloway with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office said it helps when there is limited manpower.

"The county is so large whenever people decide to help us and form neighborhood watch programs it puts more eyes out there watching their property and their neighbors property and hopefully helping us catch people out committing crimes," said Galloway.

He said it may not prevent murders, but it can prevent burglaries and thefts, but Nichols thinks cleaning up any crime is worth it.

"What we really need is the neighborhood, the neighbors all coming together and fighting this kind of stuff.  One person can't do it," Nichols said.

However, for now she will try to do it alone.

"I kept fighting.  I'm still here.  I'm in the neighborhood and I'm still watching," said Nichols.

She will keep an eye out because she may just be able to close the door of opportunity to crime.

The sheriff's office said there are only about four Neighborhood Watch programs in Angelina County.

If you want to start a neighborhood watch program in your area, talk to your neighbors and then contact your local police or sheriff's department.