Members of the Horseheads community gathered Tuesday night to discuss reinstating a neighborhood watch program.
Officials said they used to have a program years ago, but are looking to bring it back now that resources are being spread thinner and crime rates seem to keep climbing.
“There’s fewer of us and crime is on the rise it’s important for the community but come involved in to be our extra set of eyes and ears so that we can again affectively take care of the crime in the area,” Sergeant Seth Zawko said.
“Instead of locking ourselves in our house and complaining about it now we can do something about it,” David Reynolds said.
One reason for the spike in crime? Officers believe it’s due in part to the opioid epidemic creeping into places that were once considered quiet neighborhoods…like Horseheads.
“It’s all relevant to economic situations, upbringings, lifestyle, but it’s all a direct result they go hand-in-hand with larcenies,” Zawko said. “People steal property to sell property to get cash to buy drugs. So it’s all related.”
“Horseheads, it’s here it’s here,” Reynolds said. “And we want to get a jump on this right now, stay ahead of it. And I think the village, the people in this village can help do this. And that’s the main thing for this program.”
So how can crime be reduced with fewer officers? Officials said the answer is community involvement.
“If we can make people realize that our community is interested in watching for crime and incidents then maybe we can decrease the amount of crime in our neighborhoods,” Horseheads Neighborhood Watch Board of Trustees member Patricia Gross said.
“That’s the main thing, you know is getting neighbors back to being neighbors again,” Reynolds said.
Officials said they’ve already seen significant growth in interest from the community since they began these meetings four months ago. There were about 25 people at Tuesday’s meeting looking for ways to get involved. Officials said they’ll be holding their next meeting in January.
For more information on how to get involved call the Horseheads Police Department at 607-739-5669.