Newborn starts Neighborhood Watch program

COVINGTON -- Folks in Newborn are putting bad guys on notice to stay out of their town. Tuesday morning they began installing six more Neighborhood Watch signs so there will be no mistake that neighbors are watching out for each other and the Newton County Sheriff's Office is on patrol.

Newborn Neighborhood Watch coordinator Suzie Bean said the goal of the community is to have the signs throughout the town.

"The citizens would like to see them on every street," she said. "We're just getting the program started, and the town seems to be excited about it."

The Newton County Sheriff's Office Neighborhood Watch program encourages residents to be on the lookout for crime, but it also educates participants about how they can protect themselves in any emergency.

"(It) gives citizens maximum exposure to the latest trends in personal and community safety through crime updates, multi-community networking and speakers on related topics," Bean said.

She said the initiative in Newborn came about after the dedication of the public safety building in the fall of 2009. Deputy Doug Clifton is stationed at the building in his capacity as community liaison officer with the NCSO. Bean said both Clifton and NCSO Cpl. Anthony Washington have been instrumental in establishing the Neighborhood Watch in Newborn.

"Concerned citizens wanted to do something to benefit the community, to educate us on how we could protect our property and homes, the things we cherish," Bean said. "We wanted to provide the community with a safer environment. Sheriff (Ezell) Brown has been really, really supportive of citizens wanting to become more involved."

Block captains have volunteered their time to visit each family in town and provide literature about the Neighborhood Watch and gather information. Also, these team captains will keep each quadrant of the city informed as to when they will have a group meeting with their neighbors at the public safety building.

"These representatives will have badges that will identify them as part of the Neighborhood Watch organization," Bean said.

Additionally, an overall public meeting is scheduled for June (exact date to be announced) which will focus on "disaster preparedness," with trained professionals teaching safety measures for residents.

"With the tornado season being upon us, an update of ideas for safety would benefit all of our citizens," Bean said. "Our goal is to have the entire community involved. This makes us feel that we are a cohesive body and doing something with the Sheriff's Office. The new mayor and council have also been very supportive."