Cedar Point residents gather to form Neighborhood Watch
By Cassandra Favre
Sep 13, 2013, 22:29
Cedar Point residents assemble in the Treutel living room to gather and share information about preventing crime in their neighborhood. Officer Duane Coughlin made residents aware of how to protect themselves and their neighborhood from dangerous situations.
Residents of Bay St. Louis' Cedar Point gathered Thursday for camaraderie, food and crime prevention.
There were about 25 concerned residents and their children in attendance.
Residents were given hand-outs, window stickers and invisible ink pens to mark electronics in the event of a theft.
Bay St. Louis Police Chief Mike De Nardo and protection officer Duane Coughlin were key speakers and informed the homeowners about ways to keep their neighborhood, families and belongings safe.
"Get to know your neighbors," Coughlin said. "Notify neighbors when you go on vacation.
"Report anything suspicious to our non-emergency line, don't check it out yourself."
Residents raised concerns about young adults walking the streets late at night, vacant houses and unfamiliar vehicles.
Armand Jonte lives on Felicity Street and first noticed a peak in criminal activity about a year ago.
"I'm glad to see this watch is starting," Jonte said. "When the apartments across the street were being renovated, there were reports of missing tools.
"A fishing pole and bike were stolen and there has been forced entry into cars parked under car ports.
"I've seen strange cars and I usually call the authorities when I see something suspicious."
"It is tremendously important to write down your observations, "Jonte said. "That way you can give the authorities as much information as you can.
"The more people that are watching, the better things get. Let's all look out for each other. This is not vigilantism, it's common sense."
"Tonight was a good way to develop relationships," Dunbar Avenue resident and watch host Angelyn Treutel said. "The more we know, the better off we will be and better able to inform our police officers.
"It's a win/win situation."
Treutel said she has plans to have neighborhood watch meetings about twice a year.
The police offered the following tips:
• Call the police for any suspicious activity 911; non-emergency dispatch 255-9191.
• Be observant and be descriptive and detailed when you call into 911 or dispatch.
• Get to know your neighbors.
• Know the regular vehicles in your area.
• Mark valuables using permanent marker – put name and last four digits of your social security number.
• Photograph your major valuables and burn to a CD.
• Display Neighborhood Watch signs and stickers.
• Activate your centrally monitored alarm if you have one.
• Be sure to lock your house door behind the garage door.
• Always double check that your home and car doors are locked and use the deadbolt.
• Plant thorny bushes (such as holly, roses, or lemon trees) by exterior windows to deter thieves.
• Put your blinds down so thieves cannot see inside.
• Be extra alert around Christmas time for suspicious activity.
• Never put boxes from newly-purchased electronics on the street for trash pickup – that is a billboard for thieves who will know what new electronics you have in your home (break the boxes down and put inside a trash bag).
• Leaving lights on while you are gone does not help unless the lights randomly go on and off.
• Tug on your door to be certain it is locked.
• Be aware of vacant homes and renters and registered offenders and report any suspicious activity to dispatch.
If you are a Cedar Point resident and would like to know more about the neighborhood program and how you can get involved, contact Angelyn Scardino Treutel, Julie Scianna Timberlake and Robin Williford Stevens on Facebook.
Anyone interested in forming his or her own neighborhood watch program can find more information at usaonwatch.org.