Join the neighborhood watch

After reports of gunshots and a stabbing rippled through Gloversville in August 2011, residents united and crowded City Hall for neighborhood watch meetings. That was nearly two years ago. Those cases are mostly closed. Juries delivered guilty verdicts and suspects now are serving prison time.

The time that has passed does not diminish the need for neighborhood watch programs in the city. We’re encouraging Gloversville citizens to attend an upcoming citywide neighborhood watch meeting Monday.

The neighborhood watch meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday of every month in Gloversville City Hall in the courtroom.

According to two organizers, Dick and Shirley Sleezer, the monthly meetings have attracted about 25 people regularly.

“It’s about watching out for your neighbors,” Shirley said.

There are active chapters in some parts of the city, and at least a few people are involved in each ward, the Sleezers said.

The meetings are attended by the Gloversville Police Department. Residents should attend these meetings. They give people a chance to meet members of the Police Department, ask questions and unite as a community.

The purpose of the neighborhood watch is to provide police with more eyes and ears. If you are timid about calling police directly, the watch groups provide designated people in neighborhoods you can call who then will call police. We’ve seen reports of suspects picked up through information provided to police from vigilant citizens.

The neighborhood watch is not about getting directly involved in confronting suspects or being nosy. It’s about giving authorities useful information and uniting with your community.

These groups also offer neighbors a way to get to know one another. When neighbors know each other, they tend to help each other. For example, a resident can keep a closer eye on a neighbor’s house if he knows the neighbor is going out of town.

Hagaman has had a flourishing neighborhood watch group for years. At the meeting Monday, Hagaman Neighborhood Watch President Dan Druziak will talk about how that group started and what it does. Unlike Gloversville’s group, Hagaman has designated officers such as president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. If Gloversville wants to follow suit, the city group would need leaders willing to step up to those positions.

The Sleezers said they want the meetings to include speakers about safety topics such as security systems, and securing doors and windows. They’d also like to see electricians bring information about motion lights for yards.

We support local neighborhood watch efforts and encourage participation. Anyone who would like more information about the Gloversville group can call Dick and Shirley Sleezer at 773-7296.