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Police say getting to know your neighbors can make your community safer

Police say getting to know your neighbors can make your community safer

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima Police say block watches may be a thing of the past with not many left in the city.

Police said there are still a few dozen throughout Yakima but they are hoping more people will start a block watch in their neighborhood to help fight crime.

"Police officers might patrol that area but they don't really know who should be in that neighborhood and who shouldn't be," said Yakima Police Spokesperson Mike Bastinelli.

Bastinelli said people know their neighborhood better than anyone else and would be able to spot something suspicious that doesn't belong.

He said if a block watch is started, signs will be posted in that neighborhood saying there is a watch which can deter criminals. Bastinelli said another benefit is simply getting to know your neighbors.

"The hope is that they get to know their neighbors, then they know what type of cars their neighbors drive," he said. "Then they know if they see a suspicious vehicle parked in front of their neighbor's house, then they might pay attention to that."

Some people in the community think they don't need a block watch because they live in a secluded area.

However, other locals such as Patricia O'Connor said a block watch is a way for neighbors to watch out for each other.

"People in the neighborhood get to know each other and I think it's easier to talk to people if you're having a problem," O'Connor said. "If you're leaving town and if your neighbors know, they can look out for one another."

O'Connor said she doesn't currently have a neighborhood watch in her community and she thinks most people don't want to take the time to start one up.

"I think you just need somebody motivated to get it going is the one thing," she said.

The Yakima Police Department is holding a block watch meeting on Monday and hoping to get more community members to start one in their neighborhood. That meeting is July 9 at 6 p.m. at the Yakima Police Training Center, 207 S. 3rd St, across the street from the police station downtown.

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