Crime Watch Programs Growing In Rural Areas

- LONOKE COUNTY, AR -- Crime watches are starting to pop up all over one rural area here in central Arkansas, and the Lonoke County sheriff says these organizations really help them out.

Driving through most city subdivisions, you're sure to come across some crime watch neighborhood signs.

Typically though, you don't see as much of that in the country.

But take a drive through the 16th Section neighborhood, in Northern Lonoke County, and the crime watch signs are just about everywhere you look.

At one time or another, most people living out there, heard the sound of Bridget Mcelhaney's knuckles on their doors.

"And that's where we started this to get people involved and paying attention to what's going on," Mcelhaney said.

She's been spreading the word about the local community crime watch the past six months.

"I'll tell you, by far, the 16th Section, has the best participation," Sheriff John Staley said.

Bright yellow signs are posted in 100 yards out in the rural community, letting criminals know someone's always watching.

"These people care and they want to pull together and look out for their neighbors," Captain Kevin Mccoy said.

Along with watching, there's also records.

Recent mug shots line one book for anyone to flip through at the community center.

There's also a map showing what crimes are happening and where.

Bridget says with no local police department, crime watch volunteers are necessary.

And the sheriff says the watch group does keep busy, because his phone is always ringing.

"We get more folks to report what's been happening," Staley said.

Staley is putting together numbers to see if there's been a drop in crime in the 16th Section since the start of the neighborhood watch program.

But people living out there, say they already know things are safer.

If you would like to follow Melissa Schroeder's reports on Facebook, you can click here and like her page.

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