E-mail will alert North residents to suspicious behavior

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By The Staff

With just an e-mail address, residents of the City of Goshen can be involved in a Neighborhood Watch program, allowing them to be alerted of suspicious behavior and criminal activity in the area. Compiling a database of all e-mail addresses in the city was discussed at the June meeting of the Goshen Neighborhood Watch.A small number of Goshen residents met at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss what they can do to encourage more people to get involved in the program. It was the third meeting of the group, which takes place the hour before the monthly Goshen City Commission meeting.At the meeting, Goshen City Commissioner Bob Thacker said he wants to hear residents’ ideas for increasing involvement in the program. He said there are now more than 300 homes in Goshen.“I need 75-percent of (those homes involved) to have a chance of making it successful,” Thacker said. “That is my goal. If we have (that many people) we have a pretty powerful program.”While he said the 6 p.m. Monday meeting time may not be a good time for some, he encouraged the group to find a way to get in touch with their neighbors. An e-mail list is being developed to allow residents to alert each other to anything out of the ordinary. One resident who attended the meeting said she doesn’t have e-mail account. For residents without e-mail, Thacker said a phone tree could be created.The City of Goshen’s budget has a $500 allotment for Neighborhood Watch. Thacker said the city is trying to help get the Watch established, which is what the monthly meetings have been for. Once the program is established, members can decide what to do with the money. Some examples Thacker gave were having a block-watch party or holding a mass CPR class for the neighborhoods.The next newsletter, which will be sent out later this month, will include information about the Neighborhood Watch’s plan to increase resident involvement.Those in attendance at the June 16 meeting each took a group of streets and plan to go door-to-door, to help compile a database of property owners. They will ask residents on their assigned streets to be a part of the Neighborhood Watch program. Those who agree will be asked for their name and phone number or e-mail address, depending on which form of communication they prefer to use. The e-mail addresses will be compiled into a master list, and e-mails will be sent regarding plans for future meeting times and other issues regarding the program.Thacker said the e-mail system is an easy communication plan for everyone, and because meeting times may cause problems for some, e-mails will allow the residents to communicate the most convenient time to meet. He said the personal information collected will not be distributed.He reminds residents that to have 100 percent involvement in the program, all residents have to do is provide their e-mail address.“We’re doing this to help protect our community,” Thacker said. “What I care about is the people, I want to make sure everyone is safe. This is just one step in doing it.”He said being a part of the Neighborhood watch takes a proactive approach and gets people be attentive. He hopes that residents report issues, that way the information is shared.“It’s to their advantage to get involved,” he said.

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