Kewanee looks to Neighborhood Watch to blunt crime spike




  • In US
  • 2022-09-28 10:14:24Z
  • By Star-Courier
Kewanee Police have been making community outreach efforts, which they say will lead to better policing and a safer community.
Kewanee Police have been making community outreach efforts, which they say will lead to better policing and a safer community.  

Fighting crime in Kewanee is the job of the police department, but the officers can't do the job by themselves.

At Monday's City Council meeting, police department officials and council members stressed the importance of citizen participation in helping the police do their job.

Citizens can keep their eyes and ears on what's happening in their neighborhoods, and report anything suspicious to the police.

To expand those efforts, Mayor Gary Moore, Police Chief Nicholas Welgat and Deputy Chief Steve Kijanowski have called for the formation of neighborhood-watch groups throughout the city.

While he feels the police department is well-trained and equipped and is doing a good job in controlling local crime, Mayor Moore said there is "always room for improvement."

Moore, a veteran of 35 years in law enforcement, said citizens reporting suspicious activity can go a long way toward cutting down on local crime rates.

Kijanowski said there is plenty of information online about forming neighborhood-watch groups. A particularly good website, he said, is USAwatch.org.

Kijanowski said people's attitudes toward crime are "just as important as crime statistics."Many minor crimes go unreported, and Kijanowski said that if the victim had called police, the offenders might have been apprehended.

Neighborhood watch efforts can include people walking through their neighborhoods looking for any changes or anything that might be suspicious.

"We're not asking citizens to respond, just to report," Councilman Chris Colomer said.

Moore said, "Half the battle with a neighborhood watch is keeping people interested." He suggested that another meeting be held, in a larger location than City Hall, to explain how neighborhood watches work and encourage citizen participation.

Welgat told the council that community outreach has been a point of emphasis for local police officers in the past year. Officers talk with residents in non-emergency situations in an effort to create a better relationship between the department and the public, he said.

"The primary focus is on positive contact with the citizens," Welgat said.

Council members supported the neighborhood watch idea, and Councilman Steve Faber said, "If you get the right people put in place, this could really reduce crime."

This article originally appeared on Star Courier: Kewanee looks to Neighborhood Watch to blunt crime spike

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