Monett has not had an organized Neighborhood Watch program for many years. The latest effort is being spearheaded by Athene Switzer, who lives a block from the church. Switzer has discussed her idea with Police Chief Tim Schweder and has his support.
"I've had my children's toys stolen," Switzer said. "I've had drunks in my yard. The back window has been broken out at my house and at the church. My neighbors have had problems with vandalism and theft.
"I want the neighborhood to be like it was back in the good old days, where people can go back to sitting on their porches in safety, where we can see kids and not have to wonder what they're doing," Switzer said.
Having parents who were police officers, Switzer is familiar with how the Neighborhood Watch program works. She is initially focusing on the area between Fifth and Ninth streets to the east and west, bordered by Cleveland and Broadway on the north and south.
Switzer plans to organize block captains and set up an active program. The first meeting of interested persons has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 20 in the basement at St. Lawrence Catholic Church.
Residents in other parts of town are welcome to attend as well. Switzer would like to help organize people throughout the city as branches of the Neighborhood Watch she is establishing.
Meetings will initially be held "every few weeks," Switzer said. Over time she anticipated participants would only have to meet every month or bi-monthly.
|For information about Neighborhood Watch, call Crime Stoppers at 354-TIPS.||"We're trying to establish a sense of community," Switzer added.|