MOUNT VERNON — Because of an increase in crime in the Beam’s Lake area south of Mount Vernon, residents have formed their own neighborhood watch group.
“Our neighborhood is very dark,” said Marla Dague, who lives in the area and was the primary organizer of the neighborhood watch. “I just got online and started researching about neighborhood watch and decided we definitely needed to have one.
“It’s really cool how it all happened to come together. There were just a few people at first but now I have 81 people in the neighborhood. So it was just by word of mouth; neighbor telling neighbor. And they’ve been extremely receptive. We’ve been leaving lights on at night and it’s awesome. The place is lit up like a Christmas tree.”
The process started in response to a number of burglaries, break-ins and several unsettling incidents involving someone pounding on a resident’s door in the middle of the night as though someone was trying to break into the house.
According to Lt. Dave Shaffer of the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the office is taking the situation seriously.
“We have taken some reports of suspicious activity and I think there were a couple where someone was knocking on doors,” Shaffer said. “What we’ve done is put some extra patrols in the area.”
While the sheriff’s office does not have anyone specifically assigned to helping neighborhoods organize a neighborhood watch, Shaffer said anyone interested can call.
“If (a group) is interested in meeting with one of our officers, we can arrange for a meeting,” he said. “We are willing to help them organize. The whole issue is pulling together. If someone calls in we tell them to check with their neighbors and verify when they are generally home.”
Shaffer said if someone is familiar enough with their neighbor’s habits and sees something that looks out of the ordinary, they can call the neighbor at work if that’s the case or the sheriff’s office.