Neighborhood Watch meeting set for tonight

PARKERSBURG – A program to support local neighborhood watches will meet at 7 p.m. today on the second floor of the Parkersburg Municipal Building.

The meeting will be conducted by Betty Rollins, president of the Parkersburg Neighborhood Watch.

“Regardless of what neighborhood they live in, people can raise concerns,” said Parkersburg police Chief Joe Martin. “They can discuss theories and concerns they have (to their local police and other neighbors).”

Rollins said the group is trying to get more people interested in joining. She said the group involves older residents and they are hoping to get more of a younger crowd to step forward and become involved in their local community.

“With the meth labs and stuff going on, breaking and enterings,” Rollins said. “We’re trying to get people to come back and trying to get interest.”

City Councilwoman Kim Coram will be at the meeting, Martin said.

“We need to get young people interested because they are going to have to watch the neighborhood,” Rollins said. Martin said police are encouraging local watch groups and public interest. Mayor Bob Newell has been behind the idea for a while. The Advisory Commission on Crime and Delinquency was established in 1979 and modified in 1980, but was never put into place.

The commission will have one person from each of the nine council districts as a member, a representative from each of the three Parkersburg high schools, a representative from West Virginia University at Parkersburg and a representative appointed by the Parkersburg police chief.

“Our hope is to have the public help us define problems in different parts of the city,” Newell said at a council meeting last month. “I really want to generate more involvement from the community in identifying problem areas and in some cases, like with graffiti, helping to clean up those areas.”

Newell said re-enacting the advisory commission also will capitalize on recent interest generated by the Citizen’s Police Academy and expansion of police sub stations throughout the city.