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WANTED: Nosy neighbors

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By The Staff

A burglary at their home Feb. 19 prompted John and Deborah Finney to invest in extra security for their windows and doors. They were the second home on Meadowridge Trail in Goshen hit by burglars last month. An intruder slipped through a back door during the day while the Finneys were out and snatched bank cards and cash from their home.Even with extra security in place, the Finneys said they are wary of crime stirring in their neighborhood. John Finney doesn’t think there’s much that can be done about a daytime burglar. “We’ve always said this has been a good neighborhood,” said Deborah Finney. “But the neighborhood has changed.” Whether it’s noticing an unfamiliar car on the street or or keeping tab on local burglaries, residents can help protect their neighborhoods just by acting neighborly. Neighborhood watch groups work together to prevent crime usingcommunication. The Finneys said they aren’t crazy about being nosy neighbors, but they hope a neighborhood watch group might put an end to the burglaries. Oldham County Sheriff Steve Sparrow said neighborhood watch groups spread word of suspicious activity, keep residents informed of incidents and help police pinpoint problematic areas. “All we ask in law enforcement is to help us help you,” he said. “Keep your eyes open.” Residents living in subdivisions on U.S. 42 say they hope to extend a line of communication across the northwest part of Oldham County by forming a coalition of neighborhood watch groups. Judy Smith, coordinator of Paramont Estates neighborhood watch group, is hoping to prompt other subdivisions to organize neighborhood watch groups. Smith said members of each of the 12 participating neighborhood groups have volunteered to exchange e-mails with members of surrounding neighborhood groups. Those go-to members send updates to members of their respective neighborhood groups, forming a chain of communication between the different subdivisions. Neighbors met with magistrates, Deputy Judge-Executive Paula Gish, Oldham County Police Department officers and Sparrow Feb. 11 to discuss creating a network of neighborhood organizations to spread word about crime and suspicious activity. Smith, who monitors OCPD reports daily, said she has noticed an increase in daytime burglaries during the past few months. She has been working with Magistrate Steve Church for the past year to increase communication between neighborhood watch groups, and she hopes for more groups to join the coalition. Smith is looking for participation from groups on Ky. 1793, Harmony Lake Estates and Rose Island Road. “We’re trying actively through this project to get more people to participate,” she said. Smith locks her doors and looks out her windows and night to skim for suspicious activity. She pays attention to her neighbors’ schedules and daily patterns. She said she is appreciative of the police protection in her neighborhood. But as the county continues to grow she worries police protection will become scarce. She would like to see the police forces in the county expand, and more cruisers on the road. “I think police are stressed to the max,” she said. “They don’t have sufficient resources to support a county like this.” Commissioner Bobby Thacker hosted a meeting Monday for residents interested in forming a Goshen neighborhood watch group. Thacker hopes linking U.S. 42 neighborhoods by e-mail will spread word of incidents in a matter of minutes. The City of Goshen contracts OCPD and Oldham County Sheriff’s Office for additional police patrol. Thacker will host another neighborhood watch meeting May 19 with information from law enforcement agencies to teach residents how to protect their property. David Risinger believes a burglar tried to enter his home two weeks ago when he heard his door knob rattle in the evening. Risinger said he hopes more neighbors will participate in the neighborhood watch group. “It’s only as successful as the people that participate,” he said. Risinger would also like to see more police patrol in the northwest part of the county. OCPD reported several Goshen burglaries in February. Items reported taken include a digital camera, cash, medication, silver coins, a shotgun and laptop computer. Church, a Hillcrest resident, said uniting subdivisions and developing neighborhood camaraderie will be a force against crime. Church is planning more meetings for residents from all neighborhood watches in his district and surrounding neighborhoods. “It’s just neighbors looking out for neighbors,” he said. Sparrow said when a crime occurs, neighborhood watches provide police officers with information for investigations. “It doesn’t matter who spreads the word as long as it’s spread,” he said. Both OCSO and OCPD can facilitate neighborhood watch groups. Sparrow encourages residents to actively monitor their communities. He also advises home security tactics such as locking windows and doors, engraving belongings and checking on elderly neighbors. Anyone interested in starting a neighborhood watch or has a group wanting to join the network of neighborhood groups on U.S. 42 should contact Judy Smith at smithstl@hotmail.com. To report suspicious activity, call Oldham County Dispatch at 222-0111.

E-mail us about this story at: elizabeth@oldhamera.com.